Recently fired Lauderdale Lakes City Manager Jonathan Allen has taken his talents to Austin, Texas, and managed to anger folks there thanks to his comments on women in leadership roles.
Allen was invited by Austin's city manager to teach the council on how to handle the city's majority-female council. For the first time in Austin's history, the ten-member City Council, including the mayor, is made up of mostly women.
In a video that has outraged the council, Allen speaks of it being a "serious error" to treat women like men. He also added that women ask too many questions and shouldn't handle numbers.
"If you use or attempt to use the same communication or management techniques that you used or attempted to use in a predominantly male-dominated environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development, because they don't process things the same way," Allen says in the session.
Allen also uses his 11-year-old daughter as an example that women ask too many questions. He regales his listeners with an anecdote of how she asked quested after question when he was driving her to volleyball practice one day.
“In a matter of 15 seconds, I got ten questions that I had to patiently respond to,” Allen says in the session. He also says this encounter with his daughter taught him the importance of patience, then used the scenario to point out that women are more about asking questions than reading agenda information.
Allen also used the female Lauderdale Lakes City Council members he used to work with as an example that women don't like dealing with numbers and finances. He suggests that you need to approach women differently when trying to convince them of pushing an agenda dealing with numbers.
"It may make good financial sense, but if I want to get it through and get the necessary votes, I have to present it a totally different way,” he says.
Allen also spoke on how more and more women are running for political office and how Hillary Clinton's run for president will make that happen at an even faster clip.
“I submit to you if Hillary Clinton just runs, just runs for the office, you are going to see even greater numbers in leadership positions; if she wins, you will see even greater numbers starting at the bottom on top," he says in the video.
The Austin City Council was, of course, outraged by the video. According to Fox 46 Charlotte, one councilwoman said she was speechless over hearing about the session and what was said.
City Manager Marc Ott took the blame for allowing Allen's session to take place.
"I take responsibility for this," he said. "The buck stops at the city manager, so I take responsibility. It should not have happened; it should have been vetted," said Ott.
Mayor Steve Adler tweeted out that the video doesn't jibe with Austin's values.
Shocked to learn of this training. These kinds of stereotypes about women are hurtful and wrong. Not Austin values. http://t.co/ydxPWrM7AG— Mayor Steve Adler (@MayorSteveAdler) May 13, 2015
Ott says he apologized to the City Council members over the video.
The video, which had been uploaded to the City of Austin's website, has been taken down by the city.
Allen, who was fired as Lauderdale Lakes City Manager in a 3-2 vote in April, has been mired in controversy for most of his political career, including being investigated in 2012 by the Broward inspector general for bid-splitting.
In a prepared statement, Allen says that many of his comments were "taken out of context" and that they were "never intended to diminish or minimize the knowledge, skills, and contributions of women in the field of local government, nor detract from other minority groups that make great contributions across a spectrum of professional fields."
The statement goes on to apologize to those offended and says that the comments were never pre-approved nor endorsed by any Austin city official.