Citing concerns about "racial equity," the San Francisco Elections Commission is forcing Elections Director John Arntz to reapply for his job because he is a white male.
According to The Washington Free Beacon, the commission voted 4-2 in favor of opening a "competitive search" for Arntz's position last week, instead of automatically renewing his contract.
Commission member Cynthia Dai told the outlet that the decision was "driven in large part by the city's plan for racial equity," which mandates that all departments and commissions address internal racial disparities.
"It's hard to achieve diversity targets if senior roles never open up," Dai, who voted in favor of the search, said. "This has nothing to do with his performance."
The vote seemingly pitted the commission's members, who are appointed, against elected officials, who say Arntz restored public trust in the city's electoral process.
San Francisco's chief attorney, David Chiu, told Mission Local that before Arntz arrived on the scene, the city "had five directors in as many years, ballot boxes floating in the bay, and an intense lack of confidence in city elections."
Aaron Peskin, a member of the city's board of supervisors, called the commission's decision "malfeasance," while San Francisco Mayor London Breed suggested that the agency was risking the future legitimacy of the Bay City's elections.
"John Arntz has served San Francisco with integrity [and] professionalism and has stayed completely independent," Breed told Mission Local. "He's remained impartial and has avoided getting caught up in the web of city politics, which is what we are seeing now as a result of this unnecessary vote."
Arntz was hired in 2002, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Breed signed the city's racial equity plan into law in 2019. According to the Free Beacon, the law was cosponsored by Peskin, who reportedly said in 2020 that the plan would "make our city more just."
While serving as a representative in the California State Assembly, Chiu introduced a similar measure, according to the Free Beacon. The bill would create an "Office of Racial Equity," which would focus on racial diversity throughout the state government. It is still making its way through the Legislature.
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