By Associated Press • 

Portland adopts new standard to increase diversity


PORTLAND — The city of Portland has adopted a new standard to help increase diversity among its top employee ranks.

The standard adopted on Wednesday will require commissioners to interview at least one qualified minority candidate, female candidate and candidate with a disability for bureau director and other top positions. It will become binding city policy.

The last seven bureau directors hired by the city are middle-aged white men.

The new standard is modeled on the NFL's “Rooney Rule,” which requires that at least one minority candidate be interviewed for head coach and general manager positions. The Rooney Rule was named after Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who was chairman of the league's diversity committee.

Since it was implemented in 2003, the NFL has seen an increase in the number of minority head coaches.

It was city parks ranger Sam Sachs who proposed that Portland adapt a version of the Rooney Rule. In recent years, Sachs pushed for legislation that requires at least one minority candidate to be interviewed for Oregon college head coaching and athletic director positions.

With city officials, Sachs argued that bureau directors impact the hiring and diversity of other staff in the city. He also expressed concern with the city's practice of appointing bureau directors without a competitive process.

While the new standard still allows direct appointments, city officials said they hoped to move toward such non-competitive appointments being an anomaly.

City officials also said they would look into hiring a company to help the city recruit highly qualified minorities, women and candidates with a disability.

The Council also adopted a separate resolution that requires it to gather data on the race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, veteran status and person with a disability status of those hired for top management positions.

Portland's new standard was named in honor of Charles Jordan, the first African-American city commissioner.

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