12 02 2021 DRAFT DEI Manager

12 02 2021 


Why Ashland needs a DEI manager or a DEI Consultant 


March XX, 2022 

To: Mayor and City Council 

From: Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission 

Re: Why Ashland needs a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Manager or Consultant  

Dear Mayor and Council: 

The Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission reported to you in January and spoke of the challenges a group of volunteers has in developing and implementing meaningful DEI practices within the organization. 

The SERJ Commission was established, amongst other purposes, to provide recommendations and support to the City Council regarding policies, measures and practices to foster racial and social equity and respectful intergroup relations. 

In the ordinance creating the Social Equity and Racial Justice Commission, Task A, listed under the Duties and Responsibilities of the SERJ Commission states: 

“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 governancespecify remedies, and partner with community organizations to implement those remedies upon City Manager or City Council approval.” 

That statement is further underscored in Task #3 in the Workplan approved by the City Council in June 2021. Task #3 reads: 

“Review and provide feedback on the City’s efforts to integrate the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion into its human resources policies and procedures and to provide training on these issues, as well as cultural competency and implicit bias, for the council and staff.” 

As the commission set out to tackle this task, we quickly determined that we did not know how or if a racial equity lens was being applied in city policies and practices, both internally and externallyIn response to this dilemma, we drafted a series of questions for Tina Gray, Human Resource Director, who kindly forwarded to the attached answers. 

It appears obvious from reviewing these answers that the City of Ashland has had no experience in DEI within its work force, an omission we find astonishing in 2021.  It is beyond the scope of this commission, to devote sufficient time to fully educate the city on the appropriate policies necessary and the implementation of those policies.  We are a volunteer citizen body.  It is clear to us that a person who is trained in DEI is critical to direct the City in all phases of this work including recognizing racial bias, and the development of policies for both City employees and the public if a complaint is made regarding racial bias or other related issues. 

Although the training that was conducted is a good step, a DEI manager should be available in a hands-on capacity to deal with, in addition to the trainings, all the other tasks set out above. 

Because the City of Ashland has made a commitment to address these issues, it is essential that the City allocate adequate resources to hire, as soon as possible, a qualified person to be the DEI manager.   

Several Oregon cities including Gresham, Hillsboro, Wilsonville, Eugene and others have either added a DEI manager or expanded their human resource department to provide DEI initiatives and training. 

The SERJ Commission respectfully recommends the City Council create a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager position within the HR department to develop and implement internal policies and initiatives and to work with the SERJ Commission.  Preliminary research indicates a budget requirement of $150,000.  This includes a salary of $80,000 - $100,000 plus benefits and a training budget.  We believe DEI is no less important than Climate change. 

Thank you for your consideration. 

With respect,  

City of Ashland 

Social Equity and Racial Equity Commission. 

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