Mayor Mike McGinn was on KUOW this afternoon disputing a post I wrote about the paucity of women in his cabinet—namely, that his administration has significantly fewer women (seven, as opposed to 13) in cabinet-level positions than his predecessor, Greg Nickels, did at the end of his own first term, in 2005. (McGinn's opponent Ed Murray mentioned the incumbent's gender-equity issue during his victory speech last night so it was a morning radio topic). 

McGinn campaign aide Aaron Pickus and his campaign consultant John Wyble, tells me McGinn actually has appointed nine women to cabinet-level positions, plus his spokeswoman, Beth Hester, and his chief of staff, Julie McCoy. (On his blog, Wyble calls the claims about lacking women in top spots "a charge with no basis in reality.")

The campaign gets to nine cabinet-level women by including two office directors who actually report to cabinet-level department directors and aren't cabinet-level employees themselves—Office for Education director Holly Miller (who reports to Department of Neighborhoods director Bernie Matsuno, a woman) and Office of Emergency Management director Barb Graff (who reports to Seattle Police Department chief Jim Pugel, a man.)An apples-to-apples comparison between department heads under Nickels and McGinn shows clearly that McGinn's cabinet has seven women to Nickels' 13.

As I said in the comments on my original post, an apples-to-apples comparison between department heads under Nickels and McGinn shows clearly that McGinn's cabinet has seven women to Nickels' 13. (The Nickels cabinet had 24 members total, compared to McGinn's 23, because of the elimination of the Office of Policy and Management, which was headed by a woman, Mary Jean Ryan.) Five of those seven women are McGinn appointees; the other two are holdovers from the Nickels administration.

Put another way, Nickels' 24-member cabinet was 46 percent men, 54 percent women. McGinn's 23-member cabinet is 70 percent men, 30 percent women. And none of the city's seven largest departments—Police, Fire, Parks, Transportation, City Light, Utilities, Health, and  Seattle Center—is currently headed by a women. The heads of larger departments tend to make more money: In 2011, for example, the head of the fire department, Gregory Dean, made $173,000, while the head of the finance department, Beth Goldberg, made $140,000.

(In 2010, the Seattle Women's Commission took the unusual step of imploring McGinn to hire more women, noting that the shortage of female leaders at the city "is surprising and disappointing considering Seattle is a city filled with so many exceptional women leaders in the business, non-profit and government fields.")

As for Hester and McCoy: Hester, as a spokeswoman, doesn't have a cabinet-level position. McCoy, as a key advisor, is more debatable: McGinn created a powerful position for her, chief of staff, after he was elected, but she doesn't head a city department. And even if we counted McCoy, that's still eight women in top positions, as opposed to 13 under his predecessor.

"The mayor hires based on qualifications," says McGinn campaign consultant John Wyble.

We have a call out to the mayor himself.

Here are Nickels' and McGinn's appointees. Women's names are noted in bold.

1. Office of Arts and Culture

Nickels: Michael Killoren  McGinn: Randy Engstrom

2. City Light

Nickels: Jorge Carrasco McGinn: Jorge Carrasco

3. Civil Rights

Nickels: Germaine Covington  McGinn: Julie Nelson

4. Economic Development

Nickels: Jill Nishi McGinn: Steve Johnson

5. Executive Administration (Renamed Department of Finance and Administrative Services)

Nickels: Ken Nakatsu  McGinn: Fred Podesta 

6. Finance (Renamed Budget Office)

Nickels: Dwight Dively McGinn: Beth Goldberg

7. Fire

Nickels: Gregory Dean McGinn: Gregory Dean

8. Fleets and Facilities

Nickels: Brenda Bauer McGinn: Fred Podesta

9. Health

Nickels: Alonzo Plough McGinn: David Fleming

10. Housing

Nickels: Adrienne Quinn McGinn:  Rick Hooper

11. Human Services

Nickels: Patricia McInturff  McGinn: Catherine Lester

12. Intergovernmental Relations

Nickels: Susan Crowley McGinn: Marco Lowe

13. Library

Nickels: Deborah Jacobs  McGinn: Marcellus Turner

14. Neighborhoods

Nickels: Yvonne Sanchez McGinn: Bernie Matsuno

15. Sustainability and Environment

Nickels: Steve Nicholas McGinn: Jill Simmons

16. Parks and Recreation

Nickels: Ken Bounds  McGinn: Christopher Williams

17. Personnel

Nickels: Norma McKinney  McGinn: David Steward

18. Planning and Development

Nickels: Diane Sugimura  McGinn: Diane Sugimura

19. Police

Nickels: Gil Kerlikowske  McGinn: Jim Pugel

20. Seattle Center 

Nickels: Virginia Anderson McGinn: Robert Nellams                                                               

21. Seattle Public Utilities

Nickels: Chuck Clarke McGinn: Ray Hoffman

22. Transportation

Nickels: Grace Crunican McGinn: Peter Hahn

23. Technology

Nickels: Bill Schrier McGinn: Erin Devoto