Four San Jose councilmembers want City Manager Debra Figone to explain how she hires and ensures diversity in senior staff positions. Few outside searches take place for qualified candidates, and just as few minorities currently hold director-level positions. As a result, Councilmembers Kansen Chu, Ash Kalra, Nancy Pyle, Xavier Campos and Don Rocha sent a memo to the city’s Open Rules and Government Committee asking for data. They also want a discussion on hiring practices to take place at the council level. Figone, who hires top staff and oversees their recruitment, couldn’t attend last week’s Rules meeting, so the matter was deferred to Nov. 2. While Figone has shown a willingness to advance women into prominent roles, it seems that only two of this year’s 12 senior staff appointments are what are conventionally considered minorities in this city of no majority. And one was a replacement for Latina deputy city manager Deanna Santana, now Oakland’s city manager. The cash-strapped city doesn’t have the budget to do nationwide searches for most jobs other than the absolute top spots—police chief, fire chief, city manager—but, right now, Figone isn’t even posting the latest senior staff openings on the city of San Jose website. The memo doesn’t suggest any of the recent appointees are unqualified or that race played a factor in their hiring, but as one of the councilmembers who signed the memo says, “When you look at the whole list, you start doing the math.” Another top position filled by a white internal candidate is the new director of communications, David Vossbrink, who will be replacing long-time city manager mouthpiece Tom Manheim. Vossbrink is used to fielding tough questions. He was the gatekeeper for Ron Gonzales during the former mayor’s office romance and indictment on bribery charges that were later dropped.