Interior Secretary Says Diversity Doesn’t Matter
Three high-ranking officials from three different divisions at the Interior Department said that Secretary Ryan Zinke has made several comments with a similar theme, commenting that "diversity isn't important," or "I don't care about diversity," or "I don't really think that's important anymore." Each time, Zinke is reported to have followed with something along the lines of, "what's important is having the right person for the right job," or "I care about excellence, and I'm going to get the best people, and you'll find we have the most diverse group anyone's ever had." Last June, the Department unexpectedly reassigned 33 senior executive staffers, of which 15 were people of color, according to the lawyer of one of the staffers who was moved. Some of those who were reassigned have filed complaints with the U.S. Merit Systems Board. The Interior Department has about 68,000 employees, of which more than 70% are white. Only 28% of the 235 senior leaders at Interior self-report as minorities, but more than 40% of the 33 people who were moved in June without warning were non-white. Diversity has been a long-standing challenge at Interior. Seven of the 12 divisions have no minority leaders at the senior executive staff level. More here.