A top-performing government manager in San Francisco is seemingly soon to be out of a job after a determination by gatekeepers of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the acronym for which is often justifiably reshuffled as DIE.
On Wednesday in a four to two vote in a closed session, the city’s Elections Commission decided against renewing the contract of Elections Director John Arntz after 20 years in that position despite what another official characterized as his “impeccable leadership.”
The problem for the quartet seems to be that the incumbent is too pale and, perhaps, too male.
Even in a municipality ruled by identity-politics-obsessed far-left Democrats, “The reaction across the city’s political spectrum has been one of disbelief — and anger,” the Mission Local news outlet reported.
Apparently reflecting some of that sentiment, City Attorney David Chiu recollected that “I think some folks have forgotten the history of this department. Before Director Arntz we had five directors in as many years, ballot boxes floating in the bay, and an intense lack of confidence in city elections. Many of us are mystified.”
The same administrative group that nixed the contract renewal for a five-year term commended Arntz in 2020 “for his incredible leadership” in running two elections amidst the COVID pandemic. The following year the commission told Mayor London Breed that “San Francisco runs one of the best elections in the country.”
In a sad commentary on the prevailing ethos in radical blue enclaves, officials in on the decision are hardly hiding the fact that competency had nothing to do with the contract non-renewal, Mission Local noted:
Elections Commissioner Cynthia Dai, who voted to not renew Arntz’s contract, said there was no performance-based reason for the commission’s decision. She did not dispute that San Francisco has run free, fair and functional elections for 20 years. Rather, she says, it was time to open up this position to a more diverse field; the city, she said, could not make progress on its racial equity goals without opening up its top positions.
Similarly, Elections Commission President Chris Jerdonek reportedly told Arntz in an email that “Our decision wasn’t about your performance, but after twenty years we wanted to take action on the City’s racial equity plan and give people an opportunity to compete for a leadership position. We also wanted to allow enough time for a fair and equitable process and conduct as broad a search as possible.”
The commission also apparently brushed off a letter from a dozen of Arntz’s subordinate managers “pleading with them to re-appoint him. Their input was disregarded and, during Wednesday’s meeting, their letter does not appear to have been acknowledged.”
Arntz has overseen four elections in the city in 2022. Even Mayor Breed questioned the “unnecessary vote,” and lauded Arnst for his “integrity, professionalism” and politics-free independence.
Candidates to be reviewed by a search committee could include Arntz, if he decides to reapply for the position that officially comes open next May. He reportedly hasn’t decided whether he will play along, but others in that scenario might find the idea insulting.
As alluded to above, San Francisco supervisor Catherine Stefani took to Twitter to blast the decision.
“Members of the Elections Commission are tasked with ensuring free, fair, and functional elections and must act in the best interests of the City and County. The decision to dismiss John Arntz after 20 years of impeccable leadership is a dereliction of the Commission’s duty.”
Members of the Elections Commission are tasked with ensuring free, fair, and functional elections and must act in the best interests of the City and County. The decision to dismiss John Arntz after 20 years of impeccable leadership is a dereliction of the Commission’s duty. https://t.co/fiQ7Na3xaK
— Supervisor Catherine Stefani (@SupStefani) November 22, 2022
Supervisor Aaron Peskin similarly described the move as “commission malfeasance”
Employment discrimination on the basis of race violates an array of federal, state, and local laws.
Although the Elections Commission may fall back on the premise that it was merely a contract that they declined to re-up rather than a firing, the elections director, or any similarly situated person, might have legal recourse if he opts to pursue the same — especially in this instance given the statements made by election commission officials combined with the director’s sterling work record.
Critics of DIE would likely maintain that this appears to be another example where so-called equity leads to unfairness and when inclusion actually means exclusion.
“Arntz…oversees one of the few San Francisco departments that unambiguously accomplishes its core mission,” Mission Local asserted.
As part of a long Twitter thread by San Francisco entrepreneur Michelle Tandler, a self-described moderate, she wrote that “Imagine working for the city and residents of San Francisco for 20 years… receiving recognition & respect from all you encounter, and suddenly being laid off — for no reason other than the color of your skin. Well, that is what just happened to Elections Director John Arntz…
“After two decades of public service he is without a job. Not by any fault of his own. But for being born a Caucasian male. Does he have a family to support? What will become of his team?…I believe this situation is the natural extension of radical left wing values — which are espoused by the majority of San Franciscans,” Tandler added. “We see here the unintended consequences of valuing equity of outcome over equality of opportunity or merit…”
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