Thursday morning’s Jacksonville City Council budget review included a deep dive into improving workforce diversity in city employment.

Council members discussed ways to fulfill the letter of the equal opportunity/equal access law, relative to ensuring that Jacksonville’s labor force reflects the city’s demographics.

“It’s about priorities. Whatever the Mayor wants to do in that fashion, he can do by legislation or by executive order. I did it by executive order,” Hazouri said. “Ed Austin did it by law.”

“We had everybody from black, Asian, African-American, Jewish,” Hazouri said, noting that diversity wasn’t the reason for hires in his administration, but talent was.

“Pay often has a huge impact on recruiting,” Councilman Reggie Brown noted.

Employee Services director Diane Moser noted that pay was “low,” but collective bargaining led to adjustments.

“We do adjust pay scales and salaries in order to retain folks,” Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa said, noting a “real problem in public works … hiring them or keeping them.”

“We don’t want to train them and have them go working for someone else,” Mousa quipped.

“I understand what Employee Services is doing,” Finance Chair Garrett Dennis said, “but it falls short … words on paper.”

Dennis added that current performance falls short of the “One City, One Jacksonville” goal. He recommended a more robust recruitment.

“It’s more than words on paper,” Mousa said. “We take every opportunity out there to recruit the best and the brightest.”

Dennis noted that agencies throughout the city “rely on Employee Services” to meet diversity criteria.

Mousa spiritedly pushed back, noting some categories — such as “African-American engineers” — are “difficult to find.”

“Most African-American engineers graduate from Northeastern universities and stay in the universities,” Mousa added.

“White males make up 80 percent of the workforce,” Councilman Brown said regarding some departments, citing Sports and Entertainment as an

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