Diversity Implementation Plan - Executive Summary 

Summary of Diversity Implementation Plan. For a complete copy of document, contact County Administration at 682-4203.             

Report to the Board of County Commissioners

Diversity Implementation Plan

Executive Summary

A joint meeting between the Board of County Commissioners and representatives from the communities of color was convened on September 28, 1993. The purpose was to hear from participants about problems associated with access to, and the availability of, Lane County services to the communities of color. Community representatives discussed problems which they perceive as reflective of institutional racism.

As a response to the information generated, the Board of County Commissioners established a Diversity Task Force. This group presented their report on March 30, 1994 and their recommendations were accepted by the Board of County Commissioners during June, 1994. A key aspect of this effort was the adoption of a Diversity Policy Statement for Lane County (now included in Lane Manual 2.385). In addition, the Task Force proposed 31 action initiatives in the categories of Assessment, Awareness and Training, Access, Affirmative Action, and Accountability.

The Board approved establishment of the Diversity Implementation Task Force which would include both community members and county employees. A list of the members of the task force is included at the beginning of the report. The group was charged with developing an implementation plan for the action initiatives which were proposed by the Diversity Task Force.

The Diversity Implementation Task Force (DITF) developed specific implementation action proposals which would achieve the objectives of the 31 action initiatives. These proposals were prepared for the same five categories. A strategy for Implementation Priorities was developed. This strategy includes the following information: each proposed action, the category the action was developed from, the responsible party for implementation, timing for implementation, estimated frequency, and a general cost range.

The Implementation Priorities and Monitoring Strategies are divided into three categories for this report. These categories are presented in order to assist the Board of County Commissioners in assessing priority should resources be limited.

Category I includes items that the task force feels must happen. It is of utmost importance that the BCC and County Administrator ensure that these action items are implemented.

Category II includes items which need to occur. However, it is important to ensure that the items in Category I will happen prior to moving forward on these items if resources are limited.

Category III are also items which need to occur. However, it is important to ensure that the items in Category I and Category II will happen prior to moving forward on these items if resources are limited.

The task force feels all the action items and monitoring strategies in each category warrant implementation. However, we recognize the sequencing of implementation and the amount of resources committed to each action item may vary. While the task force realizes that County resources are limited, we believe that the County’s commitment to Diversity must involve dedication of resources. This work cannot be another task simply added to expectations from a dedicated work force. It must replace something else as a priority or new resources are required.

In presenting this report to the Board of County Commissioners, the Diversity Implementation Task Force has made the following recommendations:

1) The Board should adopt the implementation priorities and monitoring strategy.

2) To ensure that it is feasible to implement the agreed upon strategies, the Board should approve this plan as a priority and commit 1.0 FTE to focus on implementation and to assist the Lane County Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee in its monitoring role.

3) The Board of County Commissioners should host an evening meeting with the communities of color (and with additional groups -- such as people with disabilities) to provide follow-up dialogue regarding the concerns that were raised during September 1993 and the approaches that are being used to address those concerns given the fiscal constraints of the County.

4) The Lane County Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee shall compile an annual "report card" regarding County progress toward the accomplishment of the priorities which are adopted. It should be a requirement that the BCC shall review the report and take appropriate action to ensure that progress is occurring.

5) The Board of County Commissioners should allow county employees to be a part of the Lane County Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee. This would ensure employee involvement in the committee responsibility to assess, monitor, and provide feedback on the follow through on the implementation plan and recommendations included in this report.

As members of this task force, we have appreciated the opportunity to work cooperatively in the development of this report. Our names are listed on the following page. We look forward to discussion with the Board of County Commissioners during their review and implementation of the recommendations.

 

The Diversity Implementation Task Force

October 17, 1995

 

Committee Composition -- Diversity Implementation Task Force Members

Employee Representatives
Fred Barker, Assessment and Taxation
Deborah Holmes, Human Resources & Management Services
Paul Mickles, Public Works
Jerry Pierce, Legal Counsel Office
Marinela Rosendo, Human Resources & Management Services
Beverly Shoopman, Public Safety (Awareness & Training Subcommittee)
Nancy Waggoner, Health and Human Services
Linda Wagner, Department of Youth Services

Union Representatives
Phil Hibler Public Works -- LCPWA Local 626
Robert Strick Public Safety -- LCPOA
Jamina Terrazas Public Health -- ASCFME

Management Representatives
John Clague, Public Safety
Jerri Hopewell, HACSA
Arlene Marshall, County Administration
David Suchart, Management Services
Greta Utecht, Human Resources
Bill Van Vactor, County Administrator

Commissioner Representatives
Bobby Green, Jack Roberts , Jerry Rust

Staff Support
Leslie Barrett, Executive Secretary, HRMS
Sharon Giles, BCC Secretary

At-Large Community Members
Jeanne Benson, Lynn Burditt , YungSoona Starla Geil-Walker, Janet Perez, George Russell, Gwyneth Van Frank

Lane County Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee
Stephanie Cardinal
Betsy Fairlamb
Carey Drayton
Committee Co-chairs

 

Background

On September 28, 1993, Steve Cornacchia, then chair of the Board of County Commissioners, convened a joint meeting between the Board of Commissioners and representatives from the communities of color in Lane County. The purpose of the meeting was to hear from participants about problems associated with access to, and the availability of, Lane County services to the communities of color. Community representatives discussed problems which they perceived as reflective of institutional racism.

In response to the meeting and the comments received on follow-up questionnaires, the Board of Commissioners established the Diversity Task Force to consider the issues and concerns identified and to report back to the Board of County Commissioners with recommendations. The efforts of the Task Force focused on four primary areas:

Lane County as Service Provider
Lane County as Funder
Lane County as Employer
Lane County Boards and Commissions

To address these areas, the Diversity Task Force proposed 31 action initiatives in the categories of Assessment, Awareness and Training, Access, Affirmative Action, and Accountability. They also proposed a Diversity Policy. This group presented their report to the Board on March 30, 1994. The following recommendations in the report were accepted by the Board during June 1994.

1. The Board adopt the goal statements as part of a Diversity Policy Statement for Lane County.

Status: A Diversity Policy was adopted (LM2.385)

2. The Board approve establishment of a Diversity Initiatives Implementation Committee to address the how and when of approved initiatives.

Status: The Board approved this action and the County Administrator appointed the Diversity Implementation Plan Task Force (meetings started during 8/94)

3. The Board and Management Team participate in cultural competency/sensitivity training as a precursor to establishing County-wide training programs for other employees.

Status: A training session occurred during January 1995

 

4. The county administrator should develop an initial budget proposal for 1994 to begin implementation of diversity recommendations and initiatives for consideration by budget committee and Board of Commissioners.

Status: The County Administrator included preliminary information in the 1995 budget planning.

 

5. The Board should adopt in concept the five action areas and the related action initiatives and assign them to the Diversity Initiatives Implementation Committee to determine how and when the initiatives will be implemented.

Status: The board took this action during June 1994. This task force report responds to this assignment.

 

 

Vision and Areas of Consideration

The Diversity Implementation Task Force focus was to develop a plan of implementation for the action initiatives identified by the Diversity Task Force. To provide context, the following parts of the original Diversity Task Force report are included:

 

Vision of Lane County as a Multicultural Organization

The Diversity Task Force established a vision of a LANE COUNTY that:

• Reflects the contributions and interests of diverse cultures in its mission, operations, products, and services;
• Is committed to eradicating institutional racism and social oppression of all forms within the organization;
• Includes members of diverse cultures in decisions of the organization that affect them;
• Values diversity and views the differences between people as a strength;
• Uses management practices and policies that emphasize participation and empowerment of all people in the organization;
• Creates a working environment where people are valued for what they do and not what they are; and
• Follows through on broader external social responsibilities by educating employees in multicultural perspectives.

 

The DITF adopted the vision of Lane County government as one that embraces these values through the way in which it provides County services, through its employment practices, through its funding decisions, and through its appointments to County boards, commissions and committees. A goal was established for each area of consideration.

 

Areas of Consideration

The Diversity Task Force also identified the following four areas of consideration and proposed a goal for each area:

Lane County as Service Provider

Goal: Lane County will ensure that all county services, programs and activities are provided to its diverse communities in ways that are sensitive to and responsive to cultural differences, including accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Lane County as Funder

Goal: Lane County will ensure that all County-funded services are provided, and funding decisions are made, in a manner that recognizes, addresses and is reflective of the cultural diversity of the communities served.

Lane County as Employer

Goal: Lane County will demonstrate a commitment to workplace diversity through implementation of affirmative action plans and development of cultural competency among all employees

Lane County Boards and Commissions

Goal: Lane County will ensure that all county boards, commissions, and committees are reflective of the diversity or the Lane County population.

 

 

Diversity Implementation Task Force

Purpose and Expectations

Following the acceptance of the Diversity Task Force Report, the County Administrator established the Diversity Implementation Task Force. This group is comprised of managers, union representatives, employees, Human Rights and Affirmative Action Advisory Committee members, and community members. The group’s organizational meeting was held on August 29, 1994. At this meeting, Bill Van Vactor gave the task force the responsibility to take the 31 action initiatives included in the Diversity Task Force report and develop a plan of implementation.

 

Subcommittee Structure

Members of the Diversity Implementation Task Force decided we would function most effectively by dividing into subcommittees. Groups were established based on the work outlined in the Diversity Task Force Report (See Appendix 3-1 to 3-3). It was felt that these subcommittees needed to develop their work prior to addressing items related to accountability. The accountability actions were completed following the integration of the DITF implementation plan. The four subcommittees met at least once a month from September, 1994 through June, 1995. They developed proposals for consideration by the large group and reported back at each monthly meeting of the task force. This is the report of the Diversity Implementation Task Force. It is based on a compilation of the work of the subcommittees and is built on the foundation of the Diversity Task Force Report (accepted by BCC during June 1994).

 

Diversity Task Force Action Initiatives

The responsibility of the DITF was to develop a plan of implementation for the initiatives of the Diversity Task Force. These initiatives are included to provide a frame of reference for the implementation plan.

1. ASSESSMENT : Identifying what is or is not happening in order to know what needs to be done better. Although the DTF finds that as a County we are not meeting some of the unique service needs of those who are culturally or linguistically different, we do believe that some departments and some services are more culturally responsive than others. However, without some type of baseline information to determine what is currently being done, it will be difficult to know what should be done differently or can be done better.

Initiatives

a. Assess current service levels and delivery methods to culturally diverse populations and the ability of departments and contractors to provide services that are culturally sensitive and culturally relevant.

b. Assess attitudes, beliefs and behaviors of employees related to diversity issues and cultural competency.

c. Assess client and consumer attitudes about County employees' cultural sensitivity and cultural competency

d. Develop baseline statements for each department that identifies the current situation, what intervention strategies are appropriate, and where to target resources

e. Evaluate language in contracts and RFP's for adequacy in addressing service needs of a variety of cultural sub-groups.

f. Assess effectiveness of minority advocates program in Department of Youth Services in addressing over- representation of African American males and other youth of color.

g. Review ADA self-evaluations to identify continuing needs related to employment and accessibility.

h. Review composition of current boards, commissions and advisory committees to assess outreach efforts needed to become more inclusive of diverse communities.

 

2. AWARENESS/TRAINING: Of cultural differences/ about changing attitudes and behaviors, cultural competency and sensitivity. Changing the attitudes of line managers, or anyone else for that matter, can be a very difficult task. The opinions that have been formed through the years are unlikely to be rejected as the result of a mere training program. However, shifting the focus from what people think to what they do provides a context in which the organization has a better chance of succeeding. Defining desirable behavior and providing incentives for those who exhibit it does work.

Initiatives

a. County employees, particularly those with front-line service contact, should participate in cultural competency and awareness training that will enable them to not only respect and value cultural differences, but also prepare them to provide services in a manner that is culturally appropriate. The Leadership Team (County Commissioners and department heads) should set the example by initiating and participating in the first session.

b. Provide opportunities for employees to learn basic conversational Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL) to assist them in serving diverse customers.

c. Participate in cultural celebrations (Asian Celebration, Fiesta Latina, International Women's Day, etc.) as way to reach out to diverse communities.

 

3. ACCESS: To programs, services, benefits and resources: The DTF feels that ongoing communications between the County and other agencies and minority organizations/groups is essential to the effective provision of services. There is a perception in the communities of color that contracts for services are awarded to the larger organizations (i.e., YDC contracts) while smaller (minority) organizations who could better respond to needs of their community are unable to compete because of institutional biases.

Initiatives

a. Provide access to materials and documents that are available in more than one language, one print format, including directory signage (e.g., exits, restrooms, and "No Smoking" signs.)

b. Review operation of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program to ensure that minority and women-owned businesses, as well as businesses owned by persons with disabilities, are being provided opportunities to supply goods and services to the County.

c. Require agencies to develop partnerships/collaborations with diverse groups/organizations in the communities as one criterion for seeking County funds.

d. Develop better methods of recruitment and outreach into communities of color to attain diverse representation on boards, commissions and committees.

e. Establish a policy framework for funding streams (e.g., Commission on Children and Families, Mental Health, CCAC, IHSC, etc.) which require attention to diverse needs and means of service delivery.

f. Establish a "cultural competency" objective for all agencies receiving County funds and a method for assessing accomplishment.

g. Contract with people who are bilingual or multilingual where service gaps are identified because of lack of diversity in County staff.

 

4. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: In employment, training opportunities and career development. The Diversity Task Force (DTF) believes that merit and fitness is currently interpreted too narrowly. It is felt that either the definition or interpretation of fitness should be broadened so that consideration is given to candidates who can help achieve organizational goals related to diversity. Of particular interest are those skills that enable an employee to provide services to a diverse clientele. For example, a person that is bilingual Spanish may be considered a better fit for a position because he or she is capable of communicating in two languages. The DTF also finds that the County's affirmative action plans need updating and that it is important to continue efforts to recruit and hire a more diverse work force to better meet the needs of the increasingly diverse community.

Initiatives

a. Hire people who have bilingual or multilingual skills.

b. Review Lane Manual language in regard to broadening definition/interpretation of Merit and Fitness provision to be supportive of affirmative action efforts and to allow inclusion of bilingual/bicultural considerations in hiring and promotion.

c. Develop prototype for Affirmative Action plan for departments to use as model in developing their plans.

d. Provide employment incentives for individual and department participation in training and diversity activities.

e. Evaluate managers on progress in achieving affirmative action goals and cultural competency objectives.

f. Include diversity qualifications in recruiting and hiring, e.g., "Understanding of and support for ethnic, racial, and cultural diversity."

g. Update and verify accuracy of current EEO-4 data on employee demographics on minority and female representation by departments, and include information on accessibility and reasonable accommodation needs.

h. Include as part of supplemental applications a question regarding applicant's experience in working with people of different cultural backgrounds.

i. Review / initiate career development programs to address "glass ceiling" impact on minorities and women employees.

 

5. ACCOUNTABILITY:
For monitoring progress and ensuring results. The DTF is sensitive to the frustrations expressed by communities of color about institutionalized racism and cultural insensitivity. The DTF report is a preliminary step in addressing the problems, issues and concerns raised. Once initial assessments are made, the County will have baseline information from which to conclude what progress has been made and where additional work is required. In addition to periodic review by the board and management team, on-going assessment by the HRAAC will allow for ongoing monitoring and feedback on performance and recommendations for mid-course adjustments as appropriate.

 

Initiatives

a. Set up a joint County/Community evaluation task force through the HRAAAC to conduct on-going assessment & monitoring of County efforts to implement approved recommendations.

b. Have HRAAC monitor progress at six months initially and then annually thereafter through issuance of "diversity report card."

c. Review updated affirmative action plans and make recommendations for improvement as appropriate, and monitor progress.

d. Evaluate managers on progress in implementing AA plans and cultural competency / diversity goals.