Rose Boyd's coworkers in Alexandria City Hall say she is exceptional: intelligent, warm and easy to work with.
According to a report issued by Alexandria's Human Rights Commission, Boyd, as an assistant city manager, appears to be exceptional in another way: She is the highest ranking black administrator in a city government that has only five of its 414 black employes in its highest paid positions.
The report, which went to the City Council yesterday, points out that most women and black city workers, like their counterparts elsewhere, are hired into low-paying city jobs where promotional opportunities are most limited.
Fifty-seven percent of the city's black workers are concentrated in low-paying craft, clerical, maintenance and semiprofessional jobs, the report said.
Even so, Alexandria has been able to increase its numbers of women and black employes in the 18-months ending in December that the report covered. But the report noted that the number of blacks and women in upper management declined during that same period due to high turnover.
"Promotion and finding blacks for the higher positions, that's a problem," said Lionel Hope, the only black on the City Council. He placed some of the blame on the city's recruiting efforts.
"They're going through the motions," he said, adding that the city's recruiters often fail to follow up on good prospects. Hope also said that blacks should also take more initiative in seeking out high-ranking jobs in the government.
Overall, blacks make up 27.2 percent of the city government's work force, less than 1 percent short of the council's 28 percent goal for blacks.
For women, whose share in the city work force slipped from 37 percent in June 1981 to 35.7 by the end of the period, the council's goal of a 44 percent female city work force appears more difficult.
Some city officials say the goal may never be reached because of the employment patterns that are difficult to break down. One city official who asked not to be identified said, "We will never have enough women in positions such as carpenters and plumbers, because they aren't many applying for those jobs."
"The city," said the report's author, Pat Smith, "has made progress in some areas but not as quickly as we would like."
According to the report, more than 90 percent of the city's clerical staff is female, while they represent less than 2 percent of the city's skilled craft labor.
Assistant City Manager Boyd, who is also chairman of the city's Affirmative Action Committee, said she was not surprised by any of the report's findings.