Westminster City Council backpedaled on an earlier decision to eliminate the city’s Diveristy, Equity and Inclusion position entirely June 13, creating a temporary one instead.
City spokesman Andy Le said the coordinator is a temporary two-year position within the Human Resources department that will help jumpstart equity-focused initiatives.
Interim City Manager Jody Andrews first presented the plan May 9 to eliminate 14 vacant city staff positions and use the money saved to fund other city services and programs to the council.
“This is a city manager-driven initiative and it's in response to the new city council vision, mission and strategic plan,” Andrews said at the May 9 meeting.
The original Diveristy, Equity and Inclusion position was created the previous City Administration but never filled.
Council voted 5-2 May 9 for Andrews to bring the item forward for a formal vote. The two no votes came from City Councilors Obi Ezeadi and Sarah Nurmela because the DEI position was eliminated.
Nurmela asked what the justification was for the ridding of the position and Andrews said city staff already has DEI principles embedded in their work.
“My hunch is there’s no way in a year or however long it took to have that vacant position open that we have all of a sudden embedded diversity and inclusion in all our policies,” Ezeadi said. “We need a DEI officer.”
“I truly do want to see the DEI position retained,” she said.
DEI back in
The council unanimously approved the cuts on June 13 and moved that money to create other positions in the city. There was no discussion at the June 13 meeting.
In addition to funding the temporary DEI position, the approval will move $2.2 million to the Co-Responder Program, a Homeless Navigator, a Park Ranger, a Report Specialist for the police department, a Body-Worn Camera Technician, a Police Department Application Specialist and street maintenance.
According to the meeting’s agenda, staff said the temporary DEI position was included in response to the May 9 meeting.
“Following the May 9th City Council discussion, particularly regarding Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, Staff began an immediate evaluation of implementation efforts related to the Strategic Plan's Guiding Principle of Achieving Equitable Processes using both insourced and outsourced resources," the memo reads. "To best implement and coordinate the resources in this area, the City Manager will create a temporary insourced position titled Equitable Process Coordinator - embedded in the Human Resources Department - to assist in a deeper and broader implementation of this Guiding Principle and the coordination of resources, setting up the City for long term success in this area.”