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Colors in the Blue Book

November 9, 1995
By: Karen Fogg
State Capital Bureau
There's been a lot of talk about the color on the cover of the new Missouri Blue Book. This year the State Manual that houses pictures of our top government officials is once again the correct color of blue. But how about the color inside the blue book?

Or....in the case of half of the executive offices' top managers, the apparant absence of color. Karen Fogg takes a look at the different shades of State Government.

A quick glance at the black and white photos in the Blue Book shows a lot of white, and very little black. More than 10 percent of Missouri is black. But half of the executive offices have no blacks in upper management.

The State Treasurer's office is one of them.

State Treasurer Bob Holden says his office is agressively looking for qualified minorities from around the State. But he says hiring these people is not an easy task.

Actuality:Holden
RunTime: 30
OutCue: the minority community
Contents: Holden says it's difficult to compete with the private sector because minorities are in such high demand, and State Government doesn't pay well.
Holden also explains that the blue book may not tell the whole truth. Several minorities in key positions in his office have been promoted to other positions in the past year.

Lieutenant Governor Roger Wilson's office is not only the smallest, it also has the most diversity of the executive offices. Wilson agrees that State Government cannot compete on the wage scale. But, he says that does not keep blacks or anyone else out of State Government jobs.

Actuality:Wilson
RunTime: 19
OutCue: expertises they've developed
Contents: Wilson says there are always people who will choose to serve the public, even though they earn less.
Wilson says he has been fortunate to have very little turnover in his office.

The Attorney General's Office does not have any blacks in a high enough position to warrant a picture in the Blue Book. Attorney General Jay Nixon says his entire staff is diverse--despite the fact the blue book doesn't show it.

Actuality:Nixon
RunTime: 22
OutCue: of what our society is.
Contents: [240K WAV file - Nixon says the percentages in his entire office mirror the diversity of Missouri.]
Nixon says there's a small pool of minority lawers to choose from. Actuality:Nixon
RunTime: 7
OutCue: pass the bar
Contents: Nixon says the number of minorities with law degrees who pass the bar is a very small subset of the total population.
Nixon says it's unfair to calculate percentages based on the total population.

State Auditor Margaret Kelly says it is difficult to find skilled minorities to fill management positions.

But she didn't have a specific answer as to why there are no blacks in the upper management of her office:

Actuality:Kelly
RunTime: 18
OutCue: positions they're holding
Contents: Kelly says she doesn't have an answer other than to say that she gives everyone an equal opportunity.
Kelly says many of the minorities with accounting skills choose to live in the bigger cities.

Most state agencies say they are making progress, and actively recruit qualified minorities from all over the State.

The Book remains blue.

Others would like the color make up inside to change a little. As the light-hearted debate over the cover of the book continues, a more serious concern remains over the color inside the State manual.

For Capitol Edition, I'm Karen Fogg.



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