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Thousand Oaks

County Uses Racist Hiring Policies in Spite of Supreme Court Ruling

Matt Escobedo, County Equal Employment Opportunity Plan (EEOP) officer, updated the Board of Supervisors at their Feb. 27 meeting on the current status of racial diversity in the County workforce as compared to the County’s demographics. The chart below shows all County employees in the “County of Ventura Workforce,” including those in the Health Care Agency and Sheriff’s Office. The community statistics were derived from 2020 Census data.

According to the data, Hispanics and whites have nearly equal percentages of residents in the County; however, according to Escobedo, Hispanic employees are over-represented in the County workforce by about 4.58 percent, while white employees are under-represented by 5.24 percent.

The term Escobedo used for any group under-represented was “underutilized.” The federal government requires the County to craft a plan to address the underutilization. Escobedo assured the Board that those requirements in no way compromised merit-based recruitment.

Escobedo noted “significant underutilization of Hispanic females in the fire department” and shared recruitment strategies the County is using to attract females. The Sheriff’s office similarly made a commitment to hire and retain more female officers and “people of color.” Over the last five years, 35 percent of officer hires have been females. Escobedo credits previous underutilization reports with the Sheriff focusing on those hiring goals.

Tim McCarthy of Move the Needle, a civic engagement organization, was the only person to make a public comment on this item at the Board meeting. He asked the County why it was continuing with racial policies even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2023 that race as a basis for college admissions was unconstitutional. He urged the supervisors to reject the EEOP report, freeze hiring (except for the Sheriff’s office) and hire an independent auditor to investigate what he’s been told by several former employees is a toxic work environment.

Unmoved, the Board approved the EEOP report and policy statement 5-0 without change.


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