Women: They ask a lot of questions, they don’t listen to financial arguments and thanks to Hillary Rodham Clinton, legislatures around the country are probably going to be seeing a lot more of them.
That’s what Jonathan K. Allen told staff of the new Austin City Council at a recent workshop. Austin had just elected its first-ever majority-female council, you see, and the city manager’s office thought employees would need two hours of extra training to deal with the dramatic change.
Allen, former city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., was deemed just the man for the task, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The city commission he had worked with is all-female, which apparently qualified him for the job. Plus, he has an 11-year-old daughter who plays volleyball. (Allen was later fired from his city manager position for unrelated reasons.)
His daughter taught Allen an important lesson about dealing with women, he said at the training session: Women ask a lot of questions, so you have to be patient with them. For example, his daughter asked him a lot of questions on the way to volleyball practice, an experience that clearly translates to dealing with female elected officials.
Allen said that female city council members are less likely to read agenda information and ask you to explain it to them. It’s tempting to tell them to just read the packet, but “my daughter taught me the importance of being patient” he said, according to the Statesman.
Hope you’re taking notes.
Other advice from the session — video of which has been removed from the Austin council’s site for being “not consistent with the city’s culture, philosophy or management approach” — included avoiding financial analysis in policy discussions. The women Allen has worked with don’t want to hear about financial arguments, he said, forcing him to present his arguments “in a totally different way.”
All this makes female public officials seem like quite a burden, but, according to Allen, it’s one that city employees will have to get used to.
“If Hillary Clinton just runs, just runs for the office, you are going to see even greater numbers in leadership position,” he said. (This was before Clinton announced her candidacy for president.) “If she wins, you will see even greater numbers starting at the bottom on top.”
Women: They just blindly follow the example of Hillary Clinton.
Austin’s new female council members (whose incessant questions and dislike of financial data apparently didn’t keep them from getting elected) were less than impressed with Allen’s presentation.
“Women have served in leadership positions for years, this is not our first trip to the rodeo. We don’t read agenda information? We don’t want to deal with numbers? Come on, folks, this is 2015,” council member Leslie Poole told Fast Company. “… I have to question a culture that allowed such a training to occur.”
Of course she asked a question. Typical woman.
Correction: Jonathan K. Allen is no longer the city manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Fla. He was fired by the city commissioners in April.