City Officials React to 'How to Work with Women' Training Session
Austin city officials gathered for a press conference today to respond publicly to news, first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, about a training that city staff attended in March on how to work and interact with women. The training session, called "The Changing Dynamics in Governance: Women Leading in Local Government," apparently attempted to address "techniques" for working with the city's new majority-female city council.
City staffers attended the session, led by Jonathan Allen, now-former City Manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, in which he taught that "if you attempt to use the same communication techniques, management techniques, that you use or attempted to use in a predominantly male environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development. Because they don't process things in the same way."
A video of the training session is at the end of this post.
Mayor Steve Adler said that he just learned of this training last night. Earlier today he expressed his reaction via Twitter:
District 7 council member Leslie Pool said the training session raises questions about the culture at City Hall.
District 5 council member Ann Kitchen said that the city deserves an apology.
City Manager Marc Ott said at the conference that he was "offended and embarrassed" by the training.
Ott also said that he takes "full responsibility" and views this as a learning experience. He released a statement saying that "the opinions the outside speaker expressed in the training were disappointing and unexpected and do not reflect the views of the City."
At today's press conference, only District 6 council member Don Zimmerman was not present.
Below watch a video of the training in question in two parts.