Austin Teaches City Staff How to be PC with Majority-Female City Council

Austin City Council - AP PHoto Eric Gay
Majority Female Austin City Council. AP Photo/Eric Gay

Now that the Austin City Council is comprised of a majority of women, the City Administration responds with… what? A two-hour P.C. training for city staff on special rules for dealing with female government leaders.

And this from a city that prides itself on being progressive!

According to the Austin American Statesman, city officials brought a male city manager from a small city in Florida to teach the course on dealing with women. His credentials? His local city council in Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, consisted of all women.

Jonathan K. Allen is also the father of an 11-year-old female. He repeatedly used his daughter as an example during his presentation on how to communicate with female elected officials.

The late March training session was videotaped and made available on the City’s website. The City of Austin has now removed the videotape.

The Austin American Statesman has a few minutes of the videotaped training session embedded in its article.

In this video, Jonathan K. Allen gives the following pointers to the nearly all-female audience:

  1. If you attempt to use the same communication skills with women that you employ with men, “you will be making a serious error in your professional development, because they don’t process things at the same speed, they don’t process it the same way.”
  2. He also said that financial information isn’t important to women. As an example, he said his city used to put background information and cost-benefit financial information on the cover page of agenda forms, because city managers hoped the council would, as in “previous administrations,” perform a cost-benefit analysis. He felt the all-female council was less interested in such financial calculations.  For example, he said he normally would have stressed that a project made good financial sense, like a racetrack that would make $6 million dollars per year. For female council members, he said the fact that a school was close to the race track would outweigh its profitability.

The Austin American Statesman also reported that Allen said:

  1. Women ask lots of questions. He gave his 11-year-old daughter as an example – he said they were on the way to volleyball when she asked 10 questions in about 15 seconds.
  2. Female City Council members are more likely to ask questions instead of reading prepared agendas and reports.
  3. He repeatedly told the attendees about “the importance of being patient” with women, again referring to his daughter as an example.

The second speaker, Dr. Miya Burt-Stewart, owner of a business development and marketing firm, gave this advice:

  1. Citing the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, she reportedly said, “Men have egos, women have wish lists.”
  2. Men use a “dominating” management style, and women use a “compromising style.”
  3. Women want to be part of a team, while men seek acknowledgment.
  4. With women managers, “you are expected to be at 1,000 percent, where it used to be 100 percent.”

According to Allen, you can blame Hillary Clinton for the time that must be spent in these classes, and the new skills that must be learned to communicate with female leaders: “I submit to you if Hillary Clinton just runs, just runs, for the office, you are going to see even greater numbers in leadership positions. If she wins, you will see even greater numbers starting at the bottom on top.”

A City of Austin media advisory from the Communications and Public Information Office stated the city was removing the training video, entitled “The Changing Dynamics of Governance: Women Leading in Government,” because “unfortunately, the training’s content was not consistent with the City’s culture, philosophy or management approach.”

The advisory stated that “the intent of the training was to reinforce the City’s commitment to diversity.”

According to The Washington PostAllen is no longer the city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. He was fired by the city commissioners in April.

Lana Shadwick is a contributing writer and legal analyst for Breitbart Texas.  Follow her on Twitter @LanaShadwick2



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