Two Democratic congressmen have blasted the Federal Reserve Board's record of hiring minorities.

"As one of the nation's primary banking regulators, the Federal Reserve should serve as a model for the banking system it regulates," Reps. Henry B. Gonzalez and Jesse L. Jackson Jr. wrote in a March 6 letter to Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan.

"Despite being at the forefront of carrying out the nation's laws, the Federal Reserve's record of diversity in hiring is woefully inadequate."

A Fed spokesman declined to comment. But the congressmen, both on the House Banking Committee, noted that the Fed recently lost a discrimination suit filed by a senior statistical assistant who was denied a promotion to research assistant. They also requested more details about a discrimination suit by black secretaries.

The lawmakers also charged that the Fed overpays its top executives. "It is time for the Federal Reserve Board to adjust its compensation system so it better conforms to the present compensation system of the federal government, which is tightening its belt," they said.

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