Is the City of Davis Guilty of Racism and/or Abusive Temporary Hiring Practices in City Employment?

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City HallSubmitted Anonymously Through Yolo Leaks

This article addresses two claims that have been made by some Davis City employees according to confidential sources:

1) Davis unfairly discriminates against employees with Hispanic backgrounds by proportionately hiring fewer Hispanics than are represented in the regional population. Those Hispanics that are hired are compensated at lesser rates and promoted less often than their non-Hispanic counterparts.

2) Davis is relying more and more on temporary labor workers; many of whom are paid close to minimum wage and often terminated at or near the 90th day of their employment in order to avoid having to pay them benefits otherwise available to full-time employees.

Overall Compensation of Davis City Employees

The website TransparentCalifornia.org reports on all municipal employment in California. At the end of 2015 (the latest year for which data is available), the City had 306 permanent full-time employees with annual payroll and benefit costs of about $36,000,000.

Permanent full-time City employees are compensated very, very well. The average salary (without benefits) of a City of Davis employee in 2015 was was $83,821. This is 5.1% greater than the average salary for an Assistant Professor at UC Davis in 2016 of $79,721 and 55.2% greater than the estimated average median salary of all private sector workers in the Davis area of about $54,000.

Minority Levels of Employment and Compensation Levels in the City of Davis

For purposes of ethnicity determination, Asian and Hispanic were identified on the basis of the employee’s surname as shown in the employee lists below in Appendix A. Black employees were identified by other employees familiar with their ethnicity. All of employees were presumed to be White/Other. Obviously this methodology will incorrectly identify and mischaracterize some ethnic minorities which are a limitation of this study and will introduce some level of error. With that caveat, following are statistics of compensation paid to various employee ethnic groups.

Median total (all salary and benefits) compensation of Hispanic employees ($98,730) is 15% less than White/Other median total compensation ($116,129), 14% less than Black employees total compensation ($114,456), and 13% less than Asian employee total median compensation ($113,096).

Following are the ethnic distribution of people in Davis CA and Yolo County according to the US Census Bureau (

Following are the number of full-time City of Davis employees of different ethnic backgrounds along with their pay distribution.

Although the percentage of City employees of Hispanic background (12.5%) is identical to the ethnic make-up of the City of Davis as a whole (also 12.5%), this percentage is far lower than the Yolo Co.-wide percentage of Hispanics (31.5%). Thus, in addition to receiving approximately 15% less pay than their White/Other City employee counterparts, they are represented numerically at a far lower percentage than the regional percentage of Hispanics in the population.

And while the number of Asians and Blacks in the City-employee population is substantially less than the comparable percentage of these ethnic groups in the City- and County-wide populations, they receive average total compensation almost equivalent to their white counterparts employed by the City. The number of Asians in the populations is also influenced by the large number of Asian students at UC Davis so direct comparisons to employment representation by Asians in City of Davis employment compared to available private sector workers is not accurate.

The distribution of employee compensation by ethnicity are displayed in the following graphs:

Based on this analysis, it can be justifiably argued that Hispanic workers in the City of Davis are numerically underrepresented based on their ethnicity in the larger regional population AND receive substantially lower compensation as a group than other ethnic groups employed by the City of Davis.

Use of Part-Time vs. Full-Time City Employees

Part-time temporary workers do not receive benefits and typically are laid off (and often immediately rehired) after 90 days to deny them the right to such benefits. This is an administrative tactic most famously employed by Walmart and other large retailers to avoid the additional costs associated with full-time employment such as the provision of medical benefits under Obamacare. While these tactics are often decried by progressive labor activists, their ire over such abusive worker employment strategies is typically directed to larger retail and food-service establishments.

Following are the percentages of temporary, part-time workers employed by the cities of Davis, Woodland, and West Sacramento from 2011 through 2015

The City employed 521 part-time workers during 2015 representing 63% of total workers employed by the City. On a percentage basis, this represents the highest percentage of part-time workers employed by the City over the past 5 years. With the exception of 2014 where the City of West Sacramento employed a slightly greater percentage of temporary, part-time workers, Davis employed a substantially greater percentage of part-time workers than either Woodland or West Sacramento in every year since 2011; the earliest date for which such data is available. It would seem that the City of Davis is now wholeheartedly embracing such cost-cutting measures to the disbenefit of those affected part-time, temporary workers.

Based on this analysis, it can be justifiably argued that the City of Davis is systematically increasing the percentage of part-time, temporary workers to a much greater extent that neighboring cities.

______________________________________________________________________________

APPENDIX A – List of City of Davis Full-time Employees Segregated by Presumed Ethnicity

 

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42 thoughts on “Is the City of Davis Guilty of Racism and/or Abusive Temporary Hiring Practices in City Employment?”

  1. Keith O

    Although the percentage of City employees of Hispanic background (12.5%) is identical to the ethnic make-up of the City of Davis as a whole (also 12.5%), this percentage is far lower than the Yolo Co.-wide percentage of Hispanics (31.5%). 

    So?  They are “city” employees, not county employees.

  2. Keith O

    Davis is relying more and more on temporary labor workers; many of whom are paid close to minimum wage and often terminated at or near the 90th day of their employment in order to avoid having to pay them benefits otherwise available to full-time employees.

    I worked for an airline that would often use the same hiring practices.  It was mostly used for seasonal hiring during peak operation,  summer and the Thanksgiving through Xmas holiday season.  Are these part time city jobs also seasonal?  Laborers and gardeners needed during peak gardening seasons?  Tree maintenance seasons?

    Bottom line, nobody is forcing anyone to take part time positions offered by the city. If they don’t want the job, go elsewhere.

      1. Keith O

        Once again, nobody is forcing anyone to take the jobs.  We already have Federal and State laws to cover wages and the city I’m sure is following those rules.  If you don’t like the law then advocate to change them.

        1. Keith O

          Hello, almost everyday we hear about Davis fiscal problems and its high cost of labor.

          You often write articles about this problem.  They’re taking steps to try and somewhat keep their labor costs down, maybe they should be applauded for that.  You can’t have it both ways.

  3. Carson Wilcox

    Short answer… NO.  Let alone the % hispanic issue at the heart of this is proven to be a deeply flawed comparison…  But by all means lets post a huge accusatory article and hope no one reads the BS data that supposedly supports it.  This article should have been caught in the vanguard filter.

  4. Keith O

    Like I stated above, the 89 day hiring cycles were also used by the airlines.

    It was a good way to weed out bad employees before they were hired on full time.  One had to prove themselves as a part timer knowing that it would improve their chances of a full time job when they started hiring again.  That’s how I got my career started.

  5. David Greenwald

    One thing to note and the author is partly to blame here – the city isn’t pulling its employees from a Davis employee pool, it’s pulling it regionally and so the numbers should reflect a more regional balance than they do.

    1. Howard P

      If you could see the breakdown of those PT jobs, I wager you’d see they include HS and college students, working in recreational program during the summer, the Nutcracker in the fall, interns, etc.  It’s a significant number, and most of those live or study in Davis.

      The author does not address those numbers, nor the break-down of TPT or ‘regular’ PT.  It is a flawed “analysis”… worthless for policy/decision making, but wonderful fodder for arguing.

  6. Keith O

    One thing to note and the author is partly to blame here – the city isn’t pulling its employees from a Davis employee pool, it’s pulling it regionally and so the numbers should reflect a more regional balance than they do.

    Using regional numbers instead of local city numbers when it fits the agenda?

    1. Howard P

      Actually, Keith, not even “real numbers” as to how many of those PT jobs are seasonal, and often filled by Davis HS students and UCD students.  So, many of the PT jobs are definitely local… of the rest it is a combination of local and surrounding areas. The ‘analysis’ is so sparse, there is no basis, in fact, for a valid conclusion… one way or other…

        1. Howard P

          To clarify…don’t know the breakdown… I definitely suggest/assert, that the PT #’s used in the ‘article’ above include recreational (swim guard, softball umpires, Nutcracker helpers, interns, etc.)… and I say that, based on the fact the author makes no distinction… and yes, have much experience in seeing how many ’employees’ are HS and UCD students, and particularly @ the HS level, almost all are Davis residents.

          There may be a problem… or there may not be… I’m pretty damn sure no one can tell from the simplistic data and “analysis” in the article.

           

        2. David Greenwald

          That I agree with, the author needed to go the next step and show what the part time people are doing now as opposed to five years ago and how that has changed over time.  My sense that we are now using part time workers more than previously to do jobs previously filled by full time workers and that the concerns of the author are reflected in those practices, but you correctly point out that this is not demonstrated in the article.

        3. Keith O

           My sense that we are now using part time workers more than previously to do jobs previously filled by full time workers 

          And what’s the problem with that?  The city has real budget concerns and if that’s one way to deal with it than I say good job.

        4. David Greenwald

          As I said initially, Basically you don’t believe that any (legal) wage can be exploitative.  I understand your core beliefs and that you wish to balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it.  What we’ve basically done here is leave the upper salaried people in place and laid off / didn’t replace lowered tiered full time workers and replaced them with low wage, part time employees and I don’t support getting a measure of fiscal relief on the backs of the lower waged people.  It’s one thing to go after firefighters making $200,000-plus in total comp and argue for balance.

        5. Keith O

          I understand your core beliefs and that you wish to balance the budget on the backs of those who can least afford it.  What we’ve basically done here is leave the upper salaried people in place and laid off / didn’t replace lowered tiered full time workers and replaced them with low wage, part time employees

          Who ever said I wish to balance the budget on the backs of those who could least afford it?  Quit projecting what I think.  I think this is just one step in the right direction but it doesn’t go far enough.  I would also like to see less upper salaried people and less superviser positions.  You also know that I have always been consistent and complained that our fire dept is overpaid.  It all works hand in hand.  We have to do something about our costs and I think it now disengenuous of you to squawk about the city using part time workers to try and reign in some costs when you have harped incessantly about the city’s budget.

        1. David Greenwald

          No but it would be like saying that UC Davis’ number should be less reflective of Davis and more reflective of California – which is true

        2. Howard P

          To an extent… “out of town” UCD students tend (still) to go home during summer, when the most PT’s are utilized… probably there is a “blended #”, neither expected to reflect Davis, nor the State.  Somewhere in-between…

          Just not enough data to come to any valid conclusion…

  7. Howard P

    Keith and David…

    PT positions, to supplement (yet did not replace FT jobs) have decreased from ten years ago [not sure on current trends, last few years]… the ones I was most familiar with were to “person-up” during ‘peak times’, generally late spring to early fall, when the weather was good enough for maintenance operations.  It was felt it was counter-productive to hire @ FT when the workload was seasonal. I agree with that.  Good governance.

    In non maintenance, often PT folk would be hired for limited time/scope of particular task work.  Even those were often compensated at ~ 1.25 -2 X above minimum wage.

    Other times, PT’s are used on a limited basis, to handle peak workloads, and to get special expertise, and experience in specific functions… many have been ‘retired annuitants’, used on an “as needed basis”… but as retirees, there is little need for benefits –no PERS/other retirement contributions, no medical (they already have).  But the scope/duration of their tasks generally would not justify additional FT staff and training…

    The author recognizes NONE of this, that I could see… [sidebar for David… have been able to see every one of your posts today, without extraordinary measures]

    1. Howard P

      And those ‘facts’ have to do with part-time positions, and “allegations” of racism against Hispanics/Latinos, in Davis, how?

      “Acting out”?  When our kids did that, we implemented a ‘time-out’… suggest you look at self-imposing one.

      You can do that as anonymously as you wish.

      1. Keith O

        I thought the article was relevant because of the conversation that David and I were having where fire dept salaries were brought up.  I mean San Ramon is in our backyard.

        That said, no “time-out” needed, I’ve done nothing that deserves that response from you.

  8. Heather Hudson

    I do not understand how this article was even allowed to be posted on here? I find it incredibly irresponsible that data is being analyzed based on a person’s last name! Really?!? What if the last name is that of the employee’s spouse? What if the person was adopted? Why not request the EEO data from the City? They have to file it every year so I’m sure they have it. I mean – I just find it crazy this was allowed to be posted on here! Am I the only one?
     

    1. Howard P

      It’s called free speech… which can be refuted, questioned, made fun of (ridiculed), dismissed, by free speech. Or ignored.

      I chose to call it out on at least two of those levels… it is incomplete, skewed, and not worthy of serious consideration… it is actually laughable.

    2. Howard P

      And, remember, David and the VG have set aside this venue as a ‘place of exchange’ … each of us are responsible for weighing the exchanges, and deciding for ourselves, and responding as civilly as is reasonable…

      Your comment was civil.

      But feel free to ignore/dispute the words of a self admitted engineer, not a philosopher, who has been accused of being a “troll” many times…

  9. Liz Miller

    What’s also noteworthy is that a lot of mediocre people are drawing very large salaries and benefits out of all proportion to the value they give the city.

  10. Andrew Kwee

    This is slightly off topic from the subject of the article … but I think it’s important to point out that the “total compensation” figures reported by Transparent California (the organization reporting the figures relied upon by this article) are based on certain erroneous calculations and overstate employee compensation.  Specifically, Transparent California adds up the gross pay, employer paid contributions for retirement, and health, among other items (e.g., cash out of vacation pay), to arrive at total compensation.  While in theory this reflects total compensation, the misleading calculation error is that Transparent California does not subtract the employee’s own out of pocket contributions to these items, which are deducted from the employee’s gross pay.  For example, for state employees, the employee is generally required to pay for half of their cost of retirement benefits and this amount is subtracted as an itemized deduction from the employees gross pay on each paycheck (see http://codes.findlaw.com/ca/government-code/gov-sect-20683-2.html).   I don’t know what the requirements are for city employees.  But while a Calpers-covered employee may receive $50,000 in reported retirement benefits, that same employee may have been required to pay $25,000 out of their own paycheck to cover the cost of those benefits.  If that employee had a base pay of $100,000, it is misleading to say he or she received $150,000 in total compensation, because they may have had to pay $25,000 back to their employer out of their own pocket.  Similarly, Calpers-covered employees are also generally required to pay for part of their health benefits, the amount varying depending on the numbered of dependents and which plan they choose (also deducted from their monthly take-home pay).

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