It's a man. Again.
Mayor Dave Cieslewicz tapped Brad Wirtz to head the city's Human Resources department, replacing Roger Goodwin, who's retiring.
The fact that Cieslewicz once again chose a male to be a top city manager concerns Ald. Brenda Konkel.
"The pattern is continuing and I'm not surprised," she says. "I don't think the city's gotten to the point where it's serious about looking at gender issues in hiring."
Cieslewicz has named men to the position of city attorney, parking manager, public health director and head of Madison Metro -- all positions that were formerly held by women. He's also tapped a man to head the Overture Center.
Women are in charge of only four city departments -- the new Department of Civil Rights, the library, the Fire Department and the City Clerk's Office. JoAnn Terasa is acting as interim treasurer, but although she has applied for the job, the mayor's office has said she's not qualified.
Janet Piraino, the mayor's chief of staff, dismisses concerns that the Cieslewicz's hiring practices have been biased. "I'm a woman," she laughs. "It is not the case that he doesn't have a balance of men and women as his closest advisors."
The mayor interviewed three men and one woman for the position of director of Human Resources. After the interview, the female candidate pulled out. Piraino calls this "unfortunate," and says she doesn't know why.
This spring, Konkel got the city council to approve a study on the city's hiring practices. The report is not due until the end of the year.
"We're going to need the study so that people can see in black and white what the problem is," says Konkel. Until then, "I don't think we're going to see much of a change."
Piraino says the mayor will continue to hire the most qualified candidate. "He wouldn't make a decision based on demographics," she says. "We would love to hire a woman, but we are going to hire the best person for the job."