Is Adam Putnam’s Dept. of Agriculture too white?

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The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services needs more diversity saidCommissioner Adam Putnam, writes Christine Jordan Sexton of the News Service of Florida.

Putnam said at a lengthy session with reporters that he is working on increasing diversity in his agency, including encouraging his human resource officers and recruiters to reach out to universities, specifically Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, in hopes of increasing the number of minorities in the department. FAMU is the state’s only public historically black university.

“Our department is not as diverse as it should be,” Putnam said. “My first staff meeting in January I raised the issue with our division directors. We will be focused on hiring the most capable talented people for the position that is vacant but we are going to throw a much broader net in terms of recruitment in searching for that talent.”

Putnam’s office reports that there are 4,000 employees at the department and about 78 percent of them are white; just under 4 percent are Asian; 11.4 percent are black and another 5.7 percent are HIspanic or Latino.

“I was disappointed, but not shocked,” Putnam said of the department’s demographics. “I came into this knowing we weren’t where we need to be.”

While the department is dominated by white employees Putnam said had more Asians on staff than any other Cabinet agency.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.