He begins his job on November 30th.
Frederick, Md (KM) Frederick County has hired its first Equity and Inclusion Officer. He’s Michael Hughes, whose the Title-9 Coordinator for a community college in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Hughes was introduced on Thursday during the County Executive’s public information briefing. “I’m excited and pleased to have this opportunity to join with Frederick County Government to lead the diversity, equity and inclusion efforts,” he said.
Hughes will be working with division directors to help improve diversity within the county workforce, which may include creating some new policies. He’s also expected to identify inequities in the current system which could put minorities at a disadvantage.
County Executive Jan Gardner said Hughes will be facing several challenges. “The responsibility and goals of the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer are broad,” she said. “They include looking inward, assessing the impact of race and socio-economic factors on Frederick County Government organizational culture, our policies and procedures and to make recommendations on what’s working and what we can do better.”
Gardner says part of that could include developing new policies.
Hughes says he’s looking forward to the challenge. “I have for many years committed myself to this work, and addressing issues of racism and issues of social injustice,” he said. “And I come to this role listening to you, committed to learning from you and understanding what your concerns are.”
Hughes earned a master’s degree in Ministry and Biblical Theological Seminary, and a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communications. He’s also a certified diversity trainer and a civil rights investigator who has also worked with gender equality issues.
Gardner says she began the search for a Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer back in July to help realize a vision for Frederick County Government of fairness, equity and opportunity for employees, residents and businesses and visitors. . She also said she envisions a community where everyone feels a sense of belonging, well being, security, safety and access are not determined based on a person’s age, race, national origin, religious belief, gender, sexuality, gender identity or socio-economic class.
“So in the end, this is all about people and making life better so everyone has equitable opportunities to prosper in our community,” says Gardner.
“I commit myself to providing the leadership to bring about the change that’s needed, the change that you want,” says Hughes. “And what I ask of you is that you give me the opportunity to earn that trust.”
Hughes will begin his new job on November 30th. He will work in the County Executive’s office.
By Kevin McManus