NEW ORLEANS -- The Landrieu administration's Great Place To Work Initiative is designed to overhaul and update civil service rules that guide employment for city workers.
Those workers told the Civil Service Commision they had a lot of concerns.
'To me, this is like the Landrieu version of Obamacare,' said Police Association of New Orleans President Michael Glasser.
But administration leaders said they have started meeting with city employee groups and changed their plan.
'Of the 35 rule changes we originally proposed, we have made changes to 25,' said City Administrative Coordinator Alexandra Norton.
But CAO Andy Kopplin caused fury when he explained wanting to expand lists of candidates for fire department promotions to include more minorities.
'Those who scored at the top of the test taking were predominately white, and those who had passing scores, but at the bottom of the distribution of passing scores, they were disproportionately minority,' said Kopplin.
'One, he needs to apologize to all the African Americans who work hard and study, OK,' said Nick Felton, president of the local firefighters union. 'That was absolutely insensitive, a Donald Sterling-like comment.'
'Little bit disheartened about the comments a little bit earlier,' added Simon Hargrove with the Black Organization of Police. 'I think everyone who takes those promotional exams, certainly the majority, study very hard.'
'And I'm going to tell you this right now, this administration don't think jack about diversity,' said city workers representative Randolph Scott.
'It is the least diverse department now, and we've got to make sure it reflects the diversity of the city,' responded Kopplin. 'The fire union chief wants an apology? Again, I think that he ought to review the past history.'
The conclusion, the employees want to continue negotiating, and the CAO says he's willing to keep the dialogue going as well.