Asheville City Council is committed to supporting a community that is inclusive and diverse. A diverse community was identified as 1 of 8 key focus areas in the 2036 Vision City Council crafted in January 2016.
Council took the next step in supporting this focus area by setting aside money in the City’s 2016-2017 budget toward equity efforts. This includes the hiring of an Equity Manager. This position would be dedicated to helping the City achieve meaningful progress by evaluating delivery of programs and services and its decision-making on how to expand equity.
That’s a start. The expectation is that the person in this position will also build bridges with partner organizations, and help the City have more diverse boards and commissions as well as staff. Inclusiveness would also extend to opportunities for minority businesses to contract with the City. Equity would factor into infrastructure investments.
Before we advertise for this position, the City would like to hear from the community first. This will help management assess the specific skills necessary for the Equity Manager position to be successful. Community input will be gathered and considered in the development of recruitment materials. Final recruitment materials will be shared with those who give input.
Input meetings will be held:
- Dec. 13, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Stephens-Lee Recreation Center, 30 George Washington Carver Ave. A light lunch will be provided.
- Dec. 20, 6 – 7:30 p.m. at the Shiloh Recreation Center, 121 Shiloh Road.
Also the City will gather community input through its online public engagement platform, Open City Hall Asheville, starting Dec. 14.
Models already exist for creating meaningful equity in local government. In 2006, the City of Seattle implemented what is seen as the first practical effort for a municipality to address institutional racism with its Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative. North Carolina municipalities that have followed their lead to promote racial equity include Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh.
The plan is to have the Asheville position filled by May.