Patricia Ann McCoy got a warning from her black coworkers at the U.S Office of Civil Rights when she told them she was applying for a job at the University of the District of Columbia.
"That is a black school," said McCoy, who is white, recalling her coworkers' words, "they aren't going to hire you."
Her coworkers weren't the only ones who worried. McCoy had some doubts about getting the job as vice president for administration and finance at the university. Even members of a women's group were surprised when she told them she had been chosen for an office that virtually runs the non-academic side of UDC.
"There are very few women across the country who have this job with this size institution and this size budget," said McCoy. "It is usually a job reserved for males. But, Lisle Carter (UDC president) had faith in me and I will get the job done."
Before the UDC appointment, McCoy worked in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare's Office of Civil Rights as special assitant to the deputy director for policy, standards and research.
McCoy said that in her new post she will oversee eight major areas at UDC: administrative services (printing, mail, warehousing), telecommunications (the campus phone system), auxiliary services (bookstores, food service), safety and security, payroll, procurement, personnel and computer services.
"It is a terrific challenge and I am very excited about it," said McCoy, 42, who lives in Arlington with her daughter.
McCoy, who came to Washington in August 1977 after being selected for an HEW fellowship, said she has had no problem as a white in a predominately black institution.
"I am learning all the time," she said. "There are very interesting people here. In fact, I no longer see color when I am dealing with them."
McCoy comes to UDC with a background in administration and education. She has been director of administrative services at the University of Washington in Seattle and also has been manager of the General Services Department for the City of Seattle.
She said her work in Washington has pointed out thedramatic changes that have taken place since the days in the 1960s when she taught at a community college in Spokane, Wash.
"Back then," she said, "there were few blacks in any of the classes I taguht."
As she has assumed the duties of her new job, McCoy said she has been meeting with department heads of the university to assess what areas need immediate attention.
Based on some of those meetings, McCoy said she believes the key issues to be dealt with in her first few months will be reorganizing the personnell structure so that employes with the same jobs are getting the same pay, improving the bill-paying system so the university pays its bills on time, and speeding up the UDC mail system.
McCoy said Mayor Marion Barry is evaluating the UDC personnell schedule now to decide the best way to equalize the pay scale for employes who have come from former institutions-D.C. Teachers College, Washington Technical Institute and Federal City College-that now make up UDC.
Although McCoy has had few problems because of her race, she has met resistance in other areas.For instance, she said, one of her first problems has been that reluctant to give her the reins of responsibility in areas such as security.
"I had this problem before when I worked on Seattle's disaster patrol," she said. "The men were often reluctant to give me . . . the responsibility for handling any major emergency in the city at night."
They changed in Seattle, McCoy noted, and she expects that UDC staff members will soon change as well.
As for her approach to her new position, McCoy said she plans to use a system of management by goals and objectives, setting up timetables for completing work projects and expecting employes to stick to them.
McCoy said it is important that her staff understands the larger management picture in terms of goals and objectives.
"We want everyone to understand what the policies are and what their roles are in accomplishing the goals of the administration."
Despite her successes so far, McCoy has met with a problem that is not unusual for Washingtonians. Shortly after she accepted the UDC job, she said, she and President Lisle Carter agreed that she should move into the District.
But now, she says, she is finding that "I can't afford to live in areas where my friends say the good schools are." CAPTION: Picture, Patricia Ann McCoy: "It is usually a job reserved for males. But Lisle Carter had faith in me and I will get the job done." by Craig Herndon-The Washington Post