A group of Prince George's County employes has formed an organization to seek ways to increase the number of blacks in high-level county government positions.
The organization, known as Blacks in Government (BIG), plans in the next few weeks to send a letter to County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan requesting formal recognition from the county government and access to space and conference rooms for meetings.
"Black employes in county government still aren't getting the kinds of opportunities for advancement that they should," said Sylester Vaughns, chief organizer of the association and an employe in the county Department of Licenses and Permits.
"The county has an affirmative action program that looks good on paper, and there's obviously been some progress made in the last few years, but things are just not improving as rapidly as they should," he added.
According to figures released by the county department of personnel, minorities accounted for approximately 18 percent of the county government work force in 1974 and for about 21 percent as of June 1979.
Although about 25 percent of the county population is now black, only 10 percent of the jobs at the administrative level were held by minorities in 1979, up from 3 percent in 1974.
The county's affirmative action progran involves a talent bank, a file in which the personnel department keeps the names and relevant background data of prospective minority employes. The information is sought from fraterial, social and other minority organizations in the county.
When a position opens, likely candidates are notified and encouraged to apply.
"The system has worked pretty well so far," said Tom Harden, who is responsible for the county government's affirmative action program. "We're getting more applications and I think people are becoming aware of the opportunities actually available in county government."
Harden says that it has been especially hard to increase minority representation at the administrative level. "To make any real progress, we've going to have to increase the number of black professionals."
However, Vaughns insists that the county's hiring record should be much better than it has been in the last six years. "For a good while, there's been a lot of talk about commitment to changing the situation, but where are the actual jobs to show that committment?"
Vaughns says that the new organization would like to cooperate with the county government in improving employment opportunities for blacks.
"I don't think anyone wants conflict," he said. "This organization will not only be an advocacy group but a resource for the county government to use in improving its employment record.
"At some point down the line, we'd also hope to work with the school employes," he said.