Proposed Office of Equity

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Steve Adler
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:12 pm

Proposed Office of Equity

Post by Steve Adler » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:04 am

Councilmembers, would any of you second this item for the concept menu?

This is a menu item to:

1. Create an Office of Equity as the City Manager believes such a concept would be best executed.
2. Consider incorporating into the Office of Equity the following:
a. Already existing staffing and support for the City’s Quality of Life Commissions (African American, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino).
b.In estimating the budget impact, consider current staffing support costs for the Quality of Life Commissions (African American, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino) as an offset. against costs of staffing and setting up the new Office of Equity.

For the last two years, the Hispanic/Latino Quality of Life Advisory Commission and other groups have recommended that the City establish an Office of Diversity to address equity issues. The Undoing Racism program in Austin has called for a look at institutional barriers. Equity in our city and our government is a priority. While Austin prides itself on being a wonderful place to live, due to a number of inequities it can be a difficult place for people of color. There would be considerable benefit in having someone focused and dedicated to improving Equity in our city and our government. Not only would the convey a city value, it would mean that equity would have an advocate whose job would be that focus on equity and that people in the community would have a clearly identified person to contact with equity issues. In response to similar concerns, other cities, universities, and state governments have created Offices of Equity (e.g., Portland, where they have combined their Human Rights Commission, ADA, and Civil Rights staffs).

We should consider that the City institutionalize a continuing effort to further equity, by providing a systemic use of an equity lens and through the use of equity tools.

Similarly to the Sustainability Office which has a focus on the environment, we should consider the creation of an Equity Office, have Chief Equity Officer, or propose an alternative that provides such a dedicated. Such an office could advance racial and ethnic equity by looking at all the city does with a focus on equity, gathering equity data and creating dashboards, advocating for and perhaps staffing the quality of life commissions. The work would focus on tackling institutional barriers based on race and ethnicity and addressing those issues that interfere with access and equitable service delivery

Additionally, this office could implement Council resolution 20150507-027 which calls for an “equity tool use across City departments and during the budget process.”

Ora Houston
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:57 pm

Re: Proposed Office of Equity

Post by Ora Houston » Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:32 pm

Mayor this is a great idea.

Equity is a issue of 'class' as well as ethnicity and/or culture. Please include me as a signer. Ohouston
Council Member District 1

Leslie Pool
Posts: 152
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2015 4:22 pm

Re: Proposed Office of Equity

Post by Leslie Pool » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:56 am


I think this week we need a second "plus-one" and I would be glad to join in this effort.

Leslie Pool
Council Member, District 7