UAlbany researcher questions Romney claim

Posted at: 10/17/2012 6:11 PM
Updated at: 10/17/2012 6:30 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

ALBANY - When it came to accuracy in Tuesday night's debate, there were many issues discussed across the country about both candidate's assertions.

But a comment by Governor Mitt Romney about a 2004 University at Albany study, caused a local researcher to question the accuracy.

Romney was speaking about the priority of hiring qualified women during his tenure as Massachusetts Governor, and referred to a 2004 study done by the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society at the University. The study, entitled, "Appointed Policy Makers in State Government, Five-Year Trend Analysis: Gender, Race and Ethnicity, compared gubernatorial hiring of women in executive positions and for top advisory roles.

"I was proud of the fact that after I staffed my cabinet and my senior staff, that the University of New York in Albany, did a survey of all 50 states, and concluded that mine had more women in senior leadership positions than any other state in America," Romney said during the town hall meeting at Hofstra University.

"It was inaccurate according to the language he used," said Dr. Judith Saidel, author of the 2004 study, and currently an O'Leary Professor of Public Administration and Policy.

Saidel said while Massachusetts did rank number one for women appointees as a representation of the state's female population, it was not even close to hiring for the most women in high offices, as Romney had stated.

"He actually said there were more women appointees in Massachusetts than in any other state. That was actually imprecise. There were 21 other states with more women appointed by Governors," Saidel said, adding that if Romney had said Massachusetts ranked number one, he would have been accurate.

Saidel also took issue with Governor Romney's assertion that he asked for "binders full of women" he could hire.

In reality, she said, a group of women activists had already compiled the information, and were pushing hard for the candidates for Massachusetts Governor to use it. However, Saidel said overall, both President Obama and Gov. Romney have strong records of hiring women in their administrations.

Finally, Romney's pronounciation the name of the University also drew a laugh, from the Director of the Center that produced the study.

"You got the university's name wrong. Ha! It's the 'University at Albany' and not the University of New York in Albany," said Dr. Dina Refki, Director for the Center for Women in Government and Civil Society at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, at the University at Albany.