An effort to increase the pool of candidates for public employment with Cayuga County received some puzzling resistance from legislators who either misunderstood its intent or, worse, disagreed with it.
The Legislature's Government Operations committee passed a resolution last week intended to increase the number of minority applicants for county positions by expanding the exposure of available jobs to minority community members. The county's Human Resources Department and Civil Service Commission are exploring ways to let more people know about opportunities they might not be aware of.
Legislator Andrew Dennison said that he was concerned the county might be moving in the direction of hiring people based on factors other than qualifications. Legislator Michael Didio said that a lack of effort on the part of minorities was the reason for the small number of representative applicants.
It's a knee-jerk reaction to argue that this effort will mean qualifications go out the window, and it's wrong to believe that people are failing to apply for county jobs because of a lack of initiative. The truth is that many people are simply unaware of the opportunities available to them
And looking for fault with this effort is to fail to understand the value of having a more diverse workforce. Statistics that show Cayuga County has a population that's about 8 percent non-white, and the county's workforce should better reflect that reality.
We hope the Legislature — and county departments — get behind the thinking that the county can find the best people to fill open positions while at the same time broadening the pool of applicants to include more minorities. A government that's truly reflective of the community would work better for the people it serves.
The Citizen editorial board includes interim publisher Thomas Salvo, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.