Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Group complains not enough minorities are working at new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library

There's a group, the Illinois Association of Minorities in Government, that strongly hints we need hiring quotas at presidential libraries. Or at least at Springfield's new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.

From AP:

The head of a group representing minorities says the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum's hiring record is a disappointment to Lincoln's legacy.

Roy Williams of the Illinois Association of Minorities in Government wrote a letter to library officials this week in which he said it was unacceptable that only seven of the complex's 107 employees, or 6.5 percent, are minorities.

``I just think that makes it more appalling in that Lincoln stood for... equality for all,'' said Williams of the nation's 16th president.

``When you look at what the man stood for and what he was about, it just doesn't match,'' Williams said. ``I believe they should live up to the standard of Lincoln.''

Williams blamed Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office for dictating who should be hired, including people with family ties or other connections. He wants to meet with library officials to discuss ways to improve minority hiring.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Cheryle Jackson disputed the governor's office role in hiring, saying the state's personnel code largely determines employment.

The library's executive director, Richard Norton Smith, said officials had discretion in hiring about 50 library and museum employees, with the rest coming primarily from the state historic library and other state agencies.

Twelve African-Americans passed state tests for open positions, he said. Eight were asked to interview, and four turned down that chance. The remaining four were offered jobs and three accepted.

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