On March 27, 2015, the City of Austin offered a training for its affinity groups titled “Women Leading in Local Government,” featuring remarks from former City Manager Jonathan K. Allen and organizational development consultant Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart. The intent of the training was to reinforce the City’s principles regarding diversity in the workplace, and how staff might apply those principles in light of the changing dynamics of a new City Council. Upon viewing the content of this training session, City Manager Marc A. Ott has responded unequivocally:
“I have personally invested significant time and attention to the matters of diversity in the City of Austin workplace. The opinions the outside speaker expressed in the training were disappointing and unexpected and do not reflect the views of the City. At the same time, I have to acknowledge that this particular training should have received proper vetting. I must take responsibility for that not having occurred.
Our community, employees and elected officials should know that Mr. Allen’s remarks are not reflective in any way of our culture, philosophy, or approach toward managing this organization, nor our approach toward partnering with the City Council. As I have shared with the Mayor and City Council, I fully recognize the effect that his words have on our work, our workforce, and the community.”