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City to Consider New Affirmative Action Program

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In an effort to eliminate discriminatory hiring practices and increase minority representation in municipal government, the City Council began this month to consider a plan that would restructure Cambridge's 13-year-old affirmative action program.

"The city has made efforts to improve affirmative action over the years, but there remained clear holes," Mayor Alice K. Wolf said yesterday. "The city government should be a model for all employers in terms of commitment to minorities and females."

Some of the more signifcant changes the plan proposes include:

* The creation of a citizens' committee to oversee hiring.

* The formation of a group separate from the Committee on Civil and Human Rights to clarify sexual harrassment rules and gender issue guidelines. Until now, these issues were addressed in the affirmative action program.

* Increased focus on recruitment, training and advancement opportunities to bring the percentage of minority workers up to the level of the population as a whole.

* Stepped-up employee outreach focusing on members of traditionally underrepresented groups, in order to increase community awareness.

Councillor Jonathan S. Myers said the city has the reponsibility to "endeavor in the hardest way to get representative numbers [of minorities] in positions to make decisions."

The full council will vote next March on the 80-page draft, which comes out of months of meetings of the city's Committee on Civil and Human Rights.

The city most recently revised its affirmative action program in 1979.

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