In the wake of Mayor Mike Pantiledes’ appointment of a panel of five men, four of whom are not City residents, to select the next Chief of Police, Action Annapolis wondered just how many women have been appointed by the Mayor Board and Commissions and Department Heads. To be fair, the Mayor got the message and belatedly appointed Beth Mauk, the new Harbor Master to the panel. So Action Annapolis wondered just how many women has the Mayor appointed to positions in City government. We looked at the 27 Boards and Commissions and 18 Department Heads.
You guessed it. The picture was not pretty. What would Rosie the Riveter, Betty Friedan, Shirley Chisholm, and Gloria Steinem say! There are approximately 200 people on the 27 Boards and Commissions, approximately 38% of whom are women. But all Boards and Commissions are not created equal, some having more power to affect the City’s future. While we could quibble about which of these bodies are critical, we chose the five which are shown on the Chart below. There are 21 positions on these Boards and Commissions having only four women, three on the HPC and one on the Planning Commission.
What about Department Heads? The City of Annapolis website lists 18 department heads. Here women do better with 39% or 7 out of 18 being women but two of these women are acting heads. When you look at the organizational chart on the City’s website, it shows that department heads are also not created equal. Instead of 18 departments, there are ten. Check out the Chart below. There are 10 department heads shown here, and, guess what, nine are men and the one woman is acting county attorney.
So what’s the problem? In our City women make up 50.8% of the population and of our total Annapolis population 86.7% are high school graduates and 29.8% have bachelor’s degrees or higher. The Mayor and his advisors have plenty of educated women to choose from. I think we know the problem and generations of women working for women’s rights have not cured it.
On May 2, four representatives of Action Annapolis met with the Mayor Pantiledes and two of his advisors to present our data. The Mayor was not surprised by the data nor did he defend his administration. To be fair, some members of the Boards and Commissions were appointed by previous mayors. But the Mayor can correct the imbalance. Pantiledes made no promises but was open to our helping him fill vacancies.
The dismal conclusion is that in the City is doing poorly in including women in appointed positions. The City Council confirms many positions so they share the responsibility for the state of affairs.
In the meantime, keep in mind that the City has only one woman in a top department position and she may or may not be around tomorrow. The critical Boards and Commissions do not have a much better record. So when you’re praying that Ruth Bader Ginberg stays healthy, add our City attorney to your prayers.