Last night the Elk Grove City Council received a report on the Diversity Audit that the city had requested after a group of citizens complained that the city’s workforce was not diverse enough. You can read the complete staff report here.
The report was part of a lengthy presentation at last night’s council meeting. The city contracted with an outside group to perform the audit. The report generally showed the city is doing a good job in maintaining a diverse work force. It mentions steps the city has taken within the last 18 months to improve that diversity. One of the presenters at last night’s meeting cautioned against using raw numbers, which is what some of the critics of the city’s diversity have done by comparing percentage of employees based on race with their percentage of the overall city population. The report used a complex formula to factor in many variables.
Some excerpts from the report.
Our audit of the City’s recruiting and hiring practices did not reveal any overt barriers to diversity. It is our impression that the City’s HR Department, despite having only five full-time employees, does an admirable job to ensure equal employment opportunity in the application, hiring and promotion process for City employment. Our recommendations for changes to further promote the goals of hiring and retaining a diverse workforce are set forth below.
Since 2017, the City has taken positive steps to increase its recruitment efforts to diverse communities with the goal of promoting a diverse workforce. Notably, the HR Department has expanded its job postings for all City positions by entering into a contract with the Professional Diversity Network, which posts City requisitions for a period of 60 days to eight diverse networks that target minorities, women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, and veterans (AsianCareer, BlackCareer, iHispano, Women’s Career Channel, Out Professional Network, ProAble, Military2Career, and the Professional Diversity Network). HR also posts jobs through organizations that target specific minority or disadvantaged groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Greater Sacramento Urban League, the Center for Employment Training, and the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency and through more traditional recruiting resources, such as the Western City Magazine, a bi-monthly publication that posts City government jobs. Job openings are also posted on the City’s website and on social media sites, such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, and on the Elk Grove Citizen Newspaper Facebook page. In 2017, the HR Department also made other efforts to increase the visibility of the City and City jobs by participating in six job fairs, and by having a booth at community events, such as the Elk Grove Multicultural Fair, the Sacramento Pride Parade, and the Sacramento Hiring Expo.
The EGPD also has greatly expanded its outreach efforts to diverse communities in the past year and a half. In 2017 alone, representatives from the EGPD attended a total of 16 outreach and recruiting events in the Elk Grove and Sacramento communities, including the Urban League of Sacramento Diversity Job Fair, the Diversity Employment Day Job Fair, the Sacramento Pride Festival, the Aloha Festival, the Los Rios Academy Career Night, the Multicultural Festival, the Mentoring In Law Enforcement (M.I.L.E.) program, the Valley High School Career Day, and the Links to Law Enforcement Career Fair. As of May 2018, the EGPD had already attended 14 outreach and recruiting events, including several job fairs, a Police and Community Relations class at Sacramento City College, a Law Enforcement Candidate Scholars Program at the State Capitol, the Elk Grove High School College & Career Fair, and the Criminal Justice Conference at Sacramento City College. A highlight of the PD’s recruiting efforts is its participation in the Links to Law Enforcement Program, a regional effort involving Asian Resources, Inc., the Greater Sacramento Urban League, and La Familia to link culturally diverse groups with the resources and mentorship needed to assist them in pursuing a career in law enforcement. Notably, in 2017, the EGPD also hosted a Careers in Law Enforcement Workshop for the public to provide information about the duties of Police and Community Service Officers, to describe the benefits offered by the EGPD, and to inform regarding the hiring process. The EGPD’s diverse outreach also extends to community events. In 2017, several male members of the EGPD participated in the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an international men’s march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence. All participants walked a mile in high heeled shoes
The following five items were recommendd
Recommendation: #1 Amend and adopt policies so that the City is in compliance with current laws and regulations.
Response: The City’s Human Resources Department, in consultation with the City Attorney’s Office, will proceed with implementing the recommended policy changes. Timeframe for completion: It is expected that this work can be completed by the end of the current calendar year.
Recommendation #2: Assign an executive or manager the role of Inclusion Leader with authority to act on this Plan.
Response: The City Manager proposes to appoint Deputy City Manager, Kara Reddig as the City’s Inclusion Leader. The City Manager also proposes to appoint a Diversity and Inclusion Team, consisting of employees from different departments and varying supervisory/managerial and line level staff, which will focus on diversity and inclusion issues and strategies in the City, as recommended. Timeframe for completion: 1 month.
Recommendation #3: Create a strong Diversity and Inclusion Vision Statement.
Response: The City will work with its Diversity and Inclusion Team and employees to create a statement of its mission, vision, and values regarding diversity, inclusion and equality. Timeframe for completion: 3-6 months
Recommendation #4: Adopt an Education Plan as proposed to implement over the next year.
Response: The Inclusion Strategy includes a wide variety of training options that includes topics like implicit bias, cultural competency, procedural justice, meetings on how to establish an inclusive Elk Grove, as well as community and leader meetings. Staff will review the recommended training opportunities with the Diversity and Inclusion Team and develop a training calendar for the next twelve months. Timeframe for completion: Staff anticipates a firm can be selected, under contract, and the calendar can be developed within the next 3 months.
Recommendation #5: Review and evaluate the new policies, implementation of best practices, and education plan when complete and on a periodic basis.
Response: The appointment of an Inclusion Leader and Diversity and Inclusion Team, and ongoing City Council and City Manager leadership will ensure that diversity and inclusion remain a priority for the City. The City commits to continuing the dialogue among its employees and larger community and evaluating best practices that will make Elk Grove a municipal leader in diversity and inclusive practices. The City will also be joining the Government Alliance on Race and Equity (GARE), a national network, specifically tailored to city and county governments, working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all. They are currently working to create a Northern California Cohort that will meet quarterly. It is anticipated that the City’s Diversity and Inclusion Team will actively participate in this effort. The City is also continuing work with the Multicultural Committee for them to be an ongoing community resource. They have all been trained on the topic of implicit bias and staff will be visiting their upcoming August meeting to discuss next steps. Timeframe for completion: Ongoing Staff will present a report to the City Council in approximately six months with a status report on the implementation of the Inclusion Strategy.
Following the report, the council heard public comment on the report. Several of the speakers who had been critical of the city’s diversity requested the city hire a full time person to over the diversity process instead of having it overseen by the Deputy City Manager Kara Reddig. They contended that she did not have the experience or the time to administer the program. Reddig herself said she was excited to be a part of it and looked forward to leading the program. The interim City Manager Jason Behrmann and the city council, excluding Mayor Steve Ly, expressed confidence in Reddig’s ability to oversee the diversity program. Ly sided with critics who wanted to hire someone else.