It would set up an equity & inclusion office, and a commission.
Frederick, Md (KM) Discussion took place Tuesday night by the Frederick County Council on an equity and inclusion bill.
The legislation would set an equity and inclusion office which would incorporate the county’s current Equity and Inclusion Officer, Michael Hughes. “This office will function to provide management of a strategic framework to shape, direct and advance social and gender and ethnic inclusion and social equity and priority, and achieve equitable outcomes throughout the county,” he says.
The legislation, if passed, will also establish a 13-member equity and inclusion commission which will advise the County Council, the County Executive and the Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer.
The idea to create these two entities is part of a list of several recommendations from the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team which was established last year after nationwide protests that followed the death of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Council Vice President Michael Blue served on that Team. “Some of these discussions were pretty difficult. They weren’t easy to admit or recognize any deficiencies in our hiring practices in our county government,” he said.
The equity and inclusion office and commission would only cover county government employees.
The bill is sponsored by Councilman Kai Hagen on behalf of the County Executive. He says another provision of the bill would ” require all legislative initiatives to include an equity impact statement on the proposed measure potential impact on minorities and people of color,” he said. “That is a key part of what I’ve been striving for for a long time.”
During the discussion, Councilman Phil Dacey said he was skeptical of establishing two new entities in County Government, which have functions similar to the Human Relations Commission. “I still don’t understand why you couldn’t fold one into the other. Why do we need both,:” he said. “The Human Relations Commission, they do outreach and community events.”
Margaret Nussbaum was a member of the Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team. “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission, specifically the office, will be focusing inward in Frederick County Government, and how we can change our hiring practices,” she said.
The sponsor and other supporters of the bill were told to make some revisions so that it could be formally introduced on August 10th.
By Kevin McManus