Agendas and Minutes

Social Equity and Racial Justice Advisory Committee (View All)

Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Meeting Video

July 15, 2021; Held Electronically
  1. Call to Order
The Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission (SERJ) Meeting was called to order at 3:05 PM.
Commissioners’ present were Cheri Elson, Julie Gills, Irene Kai, Precious Yamaguchi, Emily Simon, Amit Choudhary, Anyania Muse, Tamara Williams, Keith Jenkins, Nataki Garrett and Council Liaison Gina DuQuenne.
Interim City Attorney Katrina Brown (arrived at 3:20 PM) and City Recorder Melissa Huhtala were also present.
  1. Election of Commissioner Chairperson and Vice Chairperson
The Commissioners gave consensus to move this item to the next agenda so they can get to know each other better and know the rules.
The Commission discussed the rules regarding serial communications.  Brown explained that the Commission can look at: ORS 192.610 – 192-690 which covers Public Meeting law. 
Brown explained that there are 11 members on this Commission and 6 members would be considered a quorum. Brown explained email meeting rules.
Simon/Muse moved requested that the Staff Liaison be somebody different than the Chief of Police or a person who is associated with law enforcement at the City of Ashland.  Discussion: Williams spoke in support of the motion and spoke that she will not continue to be part of the Commission if the Chief of Police is the Staff Liaison. Hand Raised Vote: All Ayes.  Motion passed 10-0.
Muse spoke that she does not have an issue working with Police Tighe O’Meara or that he is a part of the Commission; just does not thinking the Liaison position is the best for this Commission.  
Simon/Muse moved to have each Commission member clarify reasons for their participation in this Commission prior to naming a Chair and Vice Chair and add this to the next Meeting Agenda. Discussion: None.  Voice Vote - All Ayes.  Motion passed unanimously.
(Choudhary left at 3:45 PM)
3. Consent Agenda 

4. Announcements
4.1. Next Regular Meeting: To Be Determined
4.2. Other Announcements from Commissioners

5. Public Forum must be submitted via the contact form in writing by 10 a.m. the day before the meeting to be included in the minutes. (10 min maximum)

6. Reports & Presentations
6.1. City Legal Staff Presentation

6.2. City Recorder Presentation
Brown and Huhtala presented SERJ with a PowerPoint presentation regarding Oregon Public Meetings, Public Records and Ethics Law (see attached).
Items discussed were:
  • Oregon Public Meeting Law ORS Chapter 192.
  • Who needs to follow Public Meeting Law.
  • What is the law:
    • ORS 192.620
  • Quorum rules.
  • What constitutes a Meeting.
  • Procedural requirements for Public Meetings.
  • Practical tips for Public Officials.
  • Definition of a Public Record.
  • Preparing for Meetings.
  • Oregon Government Ethics Law.
  • Who is considered a Public Official.
  • Prohibited use of office.
  • Ethic law regarding gifts ORS 244.020 (a).
  • Conflicts of Interest ORS 244.020(1).
  • Types of Conflicts:
    • Actual Conflict
    • Potential Conflict
  • How to deal with an actual conflict & potential conflict.
  • Sanctions.
The Commission discussed having City email address and a drop box for the Commission.  The Commission and directed Staff to look into this with the IT Department.
• Additional reference materials relating to presentation

7. Old Business

8. New Business
8.1. Discussion of Commission request for staff liaison assignment
(See above)
8.2. Discussion of Council approved Commission workplan guidance
9. Wrap Up
9.1. Items to be added to future agendas

10. Adjourn
The Social Equity and Racial Justice Committee was adjourned at 4:58 PM
Respectfully submitted by:
City Recorder Melissa Huhtala
Commission Chair

Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission
The purpose of the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission is to provide recommendations and support to the Council and City Manager and education to the community on policies, measures, and practices to foster racial and social equity and respectful intergroup relations.
The Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission consists of no fewer than nine and not more than eleven voting members. Commission membership shall reflect a broad spectrum of community interests and perspectives, specifically including individuals with backgrounds in race and social equity work and a representative cross section of historically marginalized or underrepresented groups, such as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, and disabled persons.
The duties and responsibilities of the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission shall be as follows:
A.  To serve as an advisory body to the City Manager and City Council, with the same authority as other City commissions to define problems in City policies or governance, specify remedies, and partner with community organizations to implement those remedies upon City Manager or City Council approval.
B.  To encourage understanding and celebration of the diversity of the City’s population and visitors. 
C.  To promote amicable inter-group relations within the City.
D.  To provide or facilitate human rights education and training opportunities for policymakers and the general public.
E.  To foster increased economic opportunities for Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, and disabled persons, as well as other marginalized persons in the Ashland community.
F.  To consult with other City advisory bodies and non-City entities on matters of mutual interest in the course of developing Commission recommendations.
G.  To engage at least every two years a broad spectrum of community members in gathering information on emerging issues and needs as they relate to human rights and intergroup relations.
H.  An individual may approach the Commission regarding a specific instance of prejudice, discrimination, or racism. If there is a mutual agreement from all parties involved in the incident, then the Commission shall arrange for impartial, nonbinding, collaborative conciliatory services that do not conflict with the functions of any other government body. If any party involved in the incident does not want to engage in conciliatory services, then the aggrieved individual will be referred to qualified sources of impartial advice and counsel.
I.  To deliver to the Council annual reports on its activities and accomplishments in the preceding year and to provide to the Council for its approval the Commission’s priorities for the succeeding year and the Commission’s draft workplan for developing recommendations on:
1.  Identifying and rectifying historic and contemporary systemic and systematic practices of racism, homophobia, sexism, classism, and other racial and social inequities impacting Black, Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQ+, and disabled persons, as well as other marginalized persons in the Ashland community.
2.  Proposed policies, measures and practices to bring about social and racial equity and a greater inclusion for all who live, work, or visit in the City.
In the performance of its duties, the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission shall:
A.  Provide only services that do not conflict with the functions of any other City department or government agency.
B.  Have no executive or administrative powers or civil rights investigatory or enforcement authority except as specifically provided in this Chapter.
C.  Have the authority to request voluntary testimony but may not compel an individual or organization to appear before or respond to questions from the Commission.
D.  Serve solely as an advisory body whose recommendations shall not be final decisions and are therefore not subject to administrative or judicial appeal.

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