Rep. Holmes: Racism in Montgomery hiring practices

File Photo: Montgomery City Council meeting.
File Photo: Montgomery City Council meeting.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama State Representative Alvin Holmes is filing a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice claiming that the City of Montgomery's hiring and promotional practices are racially discriminatory.

Rep. Holmes dispatched a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's office seeking an investigation into hiring practices in Alabama's capital city, as well as a freeze on federal funds to the city until the issue is resolved.

Holmes contends that the number of black employees holding department head positions in Montgomery is disproportionately low compared to the overall makeup of the population.  The representative claims that the black population in Montgomery is 65% black, while the U.S. Census Bureau puts the number at 56.6%.

Rep. Holmes also contends that "approximately 95% of all the employees with the city of Montgomery that are black are in the lowest paid job classifications that are offered..."

Holmes, a longtime representative of the state's 78th district, which is located in Montgomery County, is asking AG Holder to "temporarily suspend federal funds until the city of Montgomery develops and initiates a plan to eradicate discrimination..."

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange responded to Holmes' allegations of discrimination saying of the eight department heads he has power to appoint, four are white and four are black. Strange says the other department heads are hired through the city/county personnel office.

Holmes says if changes aren't made, he'll call for a public march and rally.

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