Loose Lips

Marion Barry: Let’s Hire Men.

Let's all give three cheers for Rochelle Webb, Mayor Vince Gray's nominee to head the Department of Employment Services.

Webb, who just moved to the district after working  in Arizona and Texas, more than held her own during a completely ridiculous grilling from Ward 8 Councilmember Marion Barry today at a council committee hearing. Barry is upset over the fact that Webb's "executive committee," which LL believes is her senior leadership team but isn't 100 percent, is all female.

Barry, who spent much of his speaking time at the hearing commenting on how bad a job former Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration had done creating jobs, began his line of questioning by noting that when he was mayor, 51 or 52 percent of his cabinet members were female.

"So I’ve been a strong advocate of women in non-traditional positions," Barry said. (Why are you laughing, pervert?)

Bonafides established, Barry then went on to express his concern about Webb's team.

“I know it was not intentional but I wanted to point out to you that I’m a little disturbed that there are no men," Barry said. Cue patronizing in 3...2...1: "I’m sure that going forward, as positions open up, that you’re going to find some qualified men to fill those position."

Yikes. Webb tried to respond that she looks for the best candidates regardless of gender, but Barry kept interrupting her, saying: "Dr. Webb, that is unacceptable to me."

Finally, Webb got a chance to make her point: "You asked for my vision, so let me just say, here it is: I’m looking to transform this agency, which means I’m going to step outside any stereotypical expectations and I will bring in the best, most qualified most competent person to help me lead this transformation, regardless of their race, their ethnicity, or their gender. And that’s called being in compliance with the discrimination laws of this nation.”

In response, Barry threatened to play tattletale.

”Dr. Webb, That is unacceptable to me and the majority of citizens in this city. I’m not going to accept it, and I’m going to tell Mayor Gray that and I don’t think he…” Barry said.

“I think that Mayor Gray is on the same page with me with transformation of this agency," Webb replied.

“I’m not talking about transformation, I’m talking hiring some men, qualified, in positions. You have nine or ten people in the executive council and not one man, now that is unacceptable to America," retorted Barry, noted expert on American attitudes on men in the work place.

Barry went on to explain that Webb had the same problem as Fenty did, which basically boils down to this: when you say you are only hiring the most qualified people and then a certain group of people (in this case, men) aren't hired, then it looks like you don't think members of that group are qualified.

“That’s how I receive it," says Barry.

Such nonsense.

Props should also be awarded to Ward 4 Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who called Barry's foolishness out on Twitter.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Marion Barry wants affirmative action for men - Loose Lips - Washington City Paper -- Topsy.com

  • http://twitter.com/kcivey Keith Ivey

    How many people are on this executive committee? It makes a big difference.

    If it's 5, then Barry is being completely ridiculous. If it's 10, then it's harder to explain by "hiring the best people, regardless of gender" unless men actually are less qualified for the positions or somehow aren't applying, since the chance that 10 out of 10 would randomly be women (or that all 10 would be men) is around 1 in 1,000. Perhaps it's still justifiable in terms of balancing out an excess of men somewhere else (or in the past), but that's a different argument.

  • Sally

    Barry is an utter buffoon. Until the people of Ward 8 toss him aside, they're destined to live in poverty and watch prosperity pass them by.

  • Wisdom1

    I agree with Barry and I am a professional woman. It is difficult to believe that not one qualified male could be found by Dr. Webb. I believe it is insensitive of her to say that no qualified men could be found.

  • Drez

    It's not like men are underrepresented in government
    If the new director works well with these people, let it go.
    A highly functional DOES is more important than a few Y chromosomes.

  • SELiving

    Hey Wisdom, where exactly did Dr. Webb say "no qualified men could be found" Just curious. I think that came from Barry's mouth.


    Mayor Barry won his junior assistant the mayorship and then his assistant Gray stopped listening. Must suck to see your assistant turn on you like that.

  • LOL

    I think the missing part here is that all positions had not been filled. Barry is trying to show that he is back in the mix. How about putting people back to work then we can talk about the make up of the team.

  • hungrypug

    Come on, guys. This has nothing to do with men, and everything to do with one man that Barry tried, unsuccessfully, to land a specific job in the new administration. Barry is just upset that his man didn't end up an assistant director or something. And he's trying to show that he will go to outrageous lengths to make the administration's life unpleasant, should it fail to keep him happy. He knows the Gray folks are watching this hearing; so Barry can make his point at the lowly director when he is directing his displeasure at--and testing the response of--Gray.

    An ace reporter would discover and print this man's name. Impress me, LL.

  • truthindc

    @ward3indc, you are an idiot, who obviously knows nothing of Mation Barry and Vincent Gray's relationship. And since you don't, ask somebody else from ward3 like Mark Plotkin, who does and you will stop making knee-jerk generalizations that everybody from SE is the same. By the way, as one who doesn't known exactly what Barry's motives are, hungrypug's explanation make perfect sense.

  • samantha

    Why are the imports afraid of highly qualified men ? Check out Dr. Webb's track record in Texas and then make a determination .In the interim, remove the Fenty people .

  • Sally

    Hunrypug is on the right trail. Hey LL-- How about you look at all the newly created positions in various agencies and who's been hired to fill them? Whole lotta Gray campaign hacks, as well as council member buddies getting hired at very nice salaries.

  • LOL

    i think the reason LL isn't looking into that is because campaign folk being hired in the new administration isn't new or limited to this mayor or this city.

    I think we too caught up in these distracting stories so that we don't focus on the other stuff like what is barry doing with his committee budget? or why hasn't there been a single transition report put out by Gray.

    We should definitely dig at Gray but we should dig at things that will ultimately make a difference.

  • OG Neighbor DC

    I don't think that it's necessarily based on one person failing to get a job. I think-- and here's where hungrypug is right-- a reporter would get deeper into the story and figure out what all is going on and tell us what the actual motivation is for the commentary. It's true-- if you go back and look at Marion Barry's tenure as mayor he not only has a track record of hiring lots of women, he was also extremely progressive on gay rights, and also worked to be inclusive in his hiring all the way across the board. So it's not just him paying lip service to the importance of equality in hiring. The fact of the matter is that there are so many reporters whose sole focus is "Marion Barry said something that I think I can make everyone laugh about" or "Marion Barry still exists in the political landscape, itsterribleamiright?" that there's no actual reporting going on. Can we get some actual reportage? Please?

  • drez

    ...This has nothing to do with men, and everything to do with one man that Barry tried, unsuccessfully, to land a specific job in the new administration.
    As others have noted this has the right feel to it. Barry probably feels this man will reciprocate by making sure people Barry picks get hired.

    In a government where women who put out for their supervisors get get hired and get ahead, this is a dangerous thing.

  • Rake

    The problem is that (a) Over the past decade plus, Marion has devolved further into self parody, and has taken far more from this city than he has provided in return ( and I'm not solely talking about the straight stealing that was his failure to pay taxes, again and again); and (b) that Marion now feels he has an ally in the mayor's office to bounce his nonsense off of. I mean, has he considered that men were offered jobs that they chose not to accept? Or, as hungrypug pointed out, is the issue that Dr. Webb is not interested in playing political patronage games?

    Either way, better to focus on the fact that Gray, to date:
    1. Does not have a complete cabinet
    2. Has already broken one campaign promise, as there has been no action on the one source rule (remember, he was going to strengthen it his first day in office)
    3. Has hosted inagural celebrations in establishments owned by a massive tax scofflaw
    4. Has acted on, or re-introduced NONE of the "plans" he produced during his campaign
    5. Has refused any responsibility to push forward with investigations of Harry Thomas, and has held public events with him
    6. Failed to discuss the potential for house republicans to remove DC funding from the budget with Boehner when the opportunity presented itself

    Once a failed executive, always a failed executive. ONE CITY, with mindless yammering for all.

  • dcrez

    If the team were all men, all white, all latino, all AA, there would be questions. Barry has a point. We need more women in government to reflect numbers in the general population, but in this day and age, most would expect various types of diversity in any team of around 10 or more in gov't agencies.

    All that aside, DOES needs radical and effective changes. If it takes a bunch of Amazons, let them have at it; DC's workers of all varieties will be grateful.

  • Marion is right

    I agree with Councilmember Barry who always hired both genders. Dr. Webb should look in the mirror since you cannot ignore the fact that the majority of unemployed folks in this town are black males. Wrong answers at the wrong time Dr. Webb.

  • SEis4ME

    Barry's an old crank nutjob? Really? Who wouldn't thunked.

    But to his point, are all the positions filled with women? If so, that is a problem that has nothing to do with how women are underrepresented. It is intentional.

  • Gordon

    Somebody has say the right things.

  • Mrs. D

    Department of Employment Services...who would work at an organization like that? Social workers? Human resource professionals? Sounds reasonable...so...

    A randomly selected sample of members of the National Association of Social Workers reveals that 79% of the membership of this flagship professional organization for social workers are women. (http://www.socialworkers.org/naswprn/surveyTwo/Datagram2.pdf) Additional sources lend evidence that social work is dominated by women (http://www.baylor.edu/content/services/document.php/96281.pdf ; http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-184287809.html).

    A recent survey of human resource professionals by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 80% of human resources professionals surveyed were women. (http://www.allbusiness.com/population-demographics/demographic-groups/5505006-1.html)

    Other professionals may be qualified to work at DOES, but the stats seem to indicate that having 10 women isn't off-base given the logical fields interested in this work and their heavy female bias. Even though it's "10 for 10"...it's still only 10 of probably thousands of high-ranking government employment services officials across the country, and a sample that small can be skewed by just about anything.

  • Gordon

    A city with one of the highest unemployed educated and professional African American populations, it is hard to believe that the new director could not hire a more gender diverse team.

    Or maybe we are returning to the Shoulder Pad brigade like the Pratt Administration.

  • If it walks like a duck

    Well, Barry is not all the way in left field. Reason being DCPS had a national search for a principal of a certain high-school. All the candidates presented were female but when the selecting body had to ask where are the male candidates, DCPS relented and sent us two. It was quite frankly if we didn't ask for male candidates we wouldn't have not recieved male candidates. It is a thin-line that is being walked-on regarding the hiring practices and one has to be careful. Yeah, Fenty might have hired his frat brothers but solidarity amongst sistahs can't be just a strong or stronger.

  • DC Respected Common People

    Thus far, Mayor Gray has hired a well diverse and knowledgeable Director at the Department of Employment services.

    However, Gray FAILED to ensure that Dr. Webb's transition into the agency was rid of the horrific levels of incompetencies that still are in place at this agency with HIGH END SALARIES.

    Please recall, the last episodes at Employment Services that for whatever reasons have been dismissed by the PRESS:

    1. The unfit Walsh brought in about five (5) incompetent individuals, which this Director is forced to deal with via keeping or removing. We hope will soon be replaced.

    2. Walsh white male hiree laundrying of funds from the Office of Youth Programs during the summer, into his bank account at BB&T in Carolina lead to an investigation from the FBI. He's no longer there, however has he repaid one cent that he STOLE.

    3. Walsh lied about the funding needed for Summerworks program in 2010, and then had the audacity to ask for more that would have take away from the Homeless services that was rightfully denied at a August hearing w/ City Council.

    4. Walsh allowed a DYRS employee to lead his review of In-school and Out-of-school proposals that had absconded youth.

    The question is why is he still employed at Employment Services, this is a bonafide Dum Ass.

    This male, also resides in Maryland, who permitted non-qualified employees in the Office of Youth Programs to review and score proposals, who have work ties to continuing contractors that submitted proposals.

    Also, awarded a contractor that submitted their proposal late, while ignoring the review of others that submitted late proposals.

    Then, there is an Executive female who is a founding member of an outside agency, where two other founding members organizations were awarded.

    Yes, proposals were defunded by NO punishment for the errors of those still in place have yet been employed.

    5. With DOES irregulatiries of proopsal reviews and scoring, and OCP failure to provide it's required oversight, and then OCP's sudden LOST of procurement information on the 2010 In-school and Out-of-school Solicitation, people (white and black) responsible at both agencies are still employed.

    Why has Gray not taken action, why ties do he have with employees like this, who for the most part at DOES do not reside in our city, and at OCP are white and incompetent.

    Councilmember Barry is correct, if there's a lack of qualified men who are not hired, as oppose to the females and males that exist on the Executive levels at Employment Services and Office of Contracts and Procurements with issues of inexcusable errors w/o being penalized.

  • DCDem

    If Dr. Webb is hiring the most qualified candidates that she can work with to fulfill the Mayor's objective to transform DOES I have no issue with that. However, if she, like many past and present District government female directors (one under federal investigation (DCORM under Fenty)), has a chip on her shoulder where it pertains to men, there inlies a problem.

    Senior management positions are appointments and are not subject to competition such that the public would ever know if the best candidate to apply for the job actually got the job. We are forced to trust the judgement of the hiring Director.

    Dr. Webb could really shut this arguement down by making sure that her leadership team is well diversified as well as well qualified.

  • Whoa

    Mayor Gray is not a micro manager and it's up to the new director to throw those bums out from DOES. It's all coming out. Fenty's lackees all had one thing in common--crook and criminal. Things fall apart. stories are coming out about the theft. And yes, OCP dropped the ball on all teh agencies where money is taken.

  • American Rogue

    Mr. Barry is touching on a very real and disturbing trend in our society these days:Misandry!

  • Pingback: Washington Area Women's Foundation » Blog Archive » The Daily Rundown — The Latest News Affecting Women & Girls in Our Region

  • leeshato

    I support Marion Barry and these other foold. He has always supported people of color that are qualified to get jobs. Fenty abd his crew have lied and stolen and made millions. Barry lives in Southest he has always spoke up for the poor to have jobs and access. He could have made millions but he is not a thief.He is no worst then these other politican. The press has exposed all of his faults and problems. We still love him. We do need a qualified black man or women to be DOES. Marila Browser needs to be quiet. I live in her ward and I will not vote for her because of her association with Fenty. SShe never spoke up against any othe the things that he did to District residents. She was a hand picked person from one of the disrespectful Mayors that Afro- Americans have supported and then he turned on an and ignored for 4 years. We voted him out because he did not consult with the community not educational reform.

  • Adrian Bent-Me

    Gordon- where did you get your stat about DC having the highest population of educated African Americans. Depressingly,all reports indicate otherwise. While DC has the highest percent of residents with Master's Degree, we also have the worst public school system in the Country. So, please share your findings.

    As for Barry, he's in a powerless position right now. Gray doesn't need him and K. Brown despises him. All he can do is cause problems. What the hell was his point about who the woman chooses to hire. If he was more selective, DC would have been a supremely better place today.

    I'm just surprised that he didn't push for her to hire African American Males. He's just asking the City for another lawsuit.

  • Really?

    DC Respected Common People I can tell you know what's going on inside the belly of the Whale. I agree with most of your comments and the sad thing is that DOES has pretty much been neglacted expect when dealing with the Summer Youth. Last I heard the In-school and Out-of-School contracts were a disaster. Have the resolved this yet?

  • watchingtoo

    Gray is very sneaky and has managed to slap 90% of those who voted for him in the face. I know the FOP is pissed at Gray and for that you better hope they don't take it out on those who work and reside in DC.

    Get a clue people!

  • ME4DC

    What is going on with you and that church?
    Almost everytime I turn around you flapping
    about that church! Leave those people alone!
    You a Crazy Nut!