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May 29, 2021

City Council introduces bill to increase diversity in city jobs

Government City Council
City Council Diversity Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

Philadelphia City Council introduced a bill aimed at increasing the diversity of applicant pools by eliminating the "Rule of Two."

Legislation introduced in Philadelphia City Council aims to increase diversity in city government jobs by allowing employers to increase the number of applicants they interview. 

The bill, introduced by Cherelle Parker, would eliminate the so-called "rule of two" that Parker says would help the city address the challenges in diversity in the recruitment process.

Currently, when filing single positions for Civil Service jobs, only the two highest-ranking candidates are interviewed. The department then selects one of the two that are interviewed, which is called the "Rule of Two."

“Our municipal government is one of the largest employers in the City of Philadelphia, and for too long, the Rule of Two has held back Black and Brown employees, either from obtaining that entry-level job or from getting that promotion," Parker said.

The proposed legislation, which will be voted on by council in the coming weeks, lets the Human Resources Director for the city to set the rule for how many candidates will be interviewed, based on the following factors:

What is the diversity of the incumbents in the job title to be announced?

Where are the gaps in diversity?

What is the historical data from prior lists about diversity of the talent pool?

Have the required key competencies and requirements on the job description been updated to attract the most qualified and diverse candidate pool?

Parker said the bill would increase the diversity of candidate pools and allow the city to use alternative selection tools like training and experience over standardized tests or assessments.

"This legislation is by no means a ‘silver bullet’ to making our City’s workforce, and particularly our City’s upper management, more reflective of Philadelphia’s demographics, but it is a necessary and important step,” Parker said.

If approved by council by June 24, Philadelphians would vote to approve or deny the measure on the November 2021 ballot.

The Mayor's Office voiced support for the bill.

"By expanding this rule, we will reach a wider and more diverse pool of candidates and create more flexibility in our hiring process,” said Stephanie Tipton, the Mayor’s Chief Administrative Officer.

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