By Rockland County Executive Ed Day
I had the pleasure this week of introducing Dr. Penny Jennings as my choice for Rockland Human Rights Commissioner.
Bringing Dr. Jennings, a vibrant, highly educated, woman deeply committed to the people of this county, on board to do this vital job is a win for all of us.
And it also illustrates an important point about my administration: I am committed to hiring the best, most diverse workforce to do the best job possible for the people of Rockland.
It’s not who you know or what race or ethnic group you belong to or even your political affiliation – it’s your ability to do the job.
We have made great strides putting the best, most diverse, managers in positions of responsibility. And you see that diversity at the highest levels of government.
Look at my staff in the County Executive’s office: my second in command, the Deputy County Executive, is Latino. Women and members of other ethnic minorities are also on my staff.
You see that diversity throughout county government.
I am proud to say that 10 out of 22 department heads – nearly half – are female as well as seven deputy department directors.
We have women in positions of great authority, including the Commissioner of Health, Commissioner of Social Services, Commissioner of Personnel, and one Commissioner of the Board of Elections. Women run our youth bureau, Department of Insurance and even Sewer District Number One.
These are smart, talented and highly competent managers who are doing great work because we have removed even a perception of a glass ceiling.
We are making an effort to diversify our workforce as well. As of March, 25 percent of our county workers are members of ethnic minority groups.
We are making a special effort in our justice system to make sure everyone is represented in important roles. We have hired more women and increased ethnic diversity in the office of the public defender.
Our Commissioner of Personnel is reaching out to organizations representing ethnic minorities in advance of the November civil service test for police, which is administered by the county.
Again, it’s what you know, not who you know.
Our county government has already made a strong effort to put qualified people from all walks of life in positions of authority.
Penny Jennings is the latest example of an extraordinarily talented and qualitied person being chosen by my administration to do the best work for the people of Rockland.
She won’t be the last.