City of Edmonds seeks Diversity Commission members

Edmonds residents interested in working on issues, programs and activities associated with the changing demographics of the community are encouraged to apply to fill three positions on the Edmonds Diversity Commission that will be open as of Jan. 1, 2022.

The purpose of the Edmonds Diversity Commission is to promote an environment that accepts, celebrates, and appreciates diversity within the community. The nine-member volunteer advisory commission will:

  • serve as a resource for city government and the community by providing information,education, and communication that facilitates a better understanding and celebrates ourdifferences;
  • provide recommendations to the mayor and city council that would identify opportunities to address diversity issues, promote diversity programs, and/or provide guidance to create a more accessible,safe, welcoming and inclusive government and community; and
  • assist the City of Edmonds in supporting and challenging all areas of government and thecommunity to eliminate and prevent all forms of discrimination.

Applicants will be reviewed and considered by the existing members of the Diversity Commission, who will nominate appointees. Nominees will then be subject to city council confirmation. The new commissioners will fill three-year terms that start on Jan. 1, 2022 and expire Dec. 31, 2024.

Applicants must reside within the City of Edmonds. Ideal applicants will have experience in issues related to diversity and inclusion, can respect different views, are positive and action oriented, and have some personal experience that will contribute to a rich and diverse body of commissioners. Persons of diverse personal backgrounds, such as ethnic heritage, race, sexual orientation, physical ability, religion and age, are encouraged to apply. In addition, applicants should have the time to commit to once-monthly evening commission meetings, occasional evening or weekend sponsored events, plus occasional ad hoc working subgroup meetings.

Apply online by clicking “application” after the Diversity Commission listed at the following City webpage: edmondswa.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=16495016&pageId=17282631

Or obtain an application by emailing megan.luttrell@edmondswa.gov, calling 425-775-7724 or visiting City Hall first floor reception, 121 5th Ave. N., Edmonds

Application forms may be returned no later than noon Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2021. Applicants must be available for potential interviews by the Diversity Commissioners at their Wednesday, Nov. 3, meeting at 6 p.m. The Diversity Commission meetings are held virtually via Zoom.

 

 

  1. The City may be blocking its own goal with too many staff and elected officials attending the meetings. On the face of it, the Diversity Commission appears to be one example of Edmond’s City Government problems.

    The request for applicants for the Diversity Commission seems normal. I was going to take the opportunity to again ask the elected officials and Commission to create a more formal list of position representation. While looking into this, I read the September 2021 minutes and saw Commission members are interested in a change of makeup. However, there may be a bigger problem than the makeup of the commissioners.

    Facts I observed from the September Minutes:

    Combined, a total of four staff members and one elected official attended the September meeting. There appears to be approximately a 1:2 City to Citizen attendance ratio on the Diversity Commission.

    Four (4) City Employees in the department of Economic Development and Community Services including Director, Patrick Doherty attended the Diversity meeting. One, Malinda Woods, was not listed as a staff member, but as a commissioner. On the Edmonds City web site, Ms. Woods is listed as an employee under Mr. Doherty’s direction. Council Member, Luke Distelhorst is listed as ex officious Commissioner. http://edmondswa.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2982&Inline=True

    To what extent are staff and council members to be involved with the Commission?

    In an isolated incident, during a discussion portion of a diversity event, in 2019, I felt I was not heard, and my comment dismissed, by the then City Council Member who was acting as the, facilitator of the event.

    My leading and closing question(s), what are your thoughts on the City’s level of involvement, persuasion, and, or control of the Diversity Commissioners ability to function creatively and effectively and to truly represent the areas of diversity of Edmonds?

  2. Thanks for making these comments, Lori. I think the Executive branch of our City government does not always allow Citizens of Edmonds to get what citizens should get from our Boards, Commissions, and Task Forces.

    (As a side note, City Officials continue to refuse to answer questions about what policies govern the formation and use of Task Forces in Edmonds.)

    I’ll provide 3 examples.

    First, Diversity Commission members held preliminary discussions about a bias/hate reporting portal. Instead of those discussions leading to more formal discussions and a vote to recommend that City Council consider such, City Staff discussed the portal idea internally and decided on their own that this was a good idea and implemented it without further ado.

    Second, Mayor Mike Nelson’s administration approached City Council on June 1, 2021, and proposed a change in the regular cycle of the Salary Commission from every 2 years to every 4 years. Much was written about this mess on My Edmonds News in June. Long story short, the Salary Commission was disbanded. Incredible.

    Third, back in 2019, efforts were made by City Staff to remove the Either:OR law from our Street Vacation City Code. The Either:OR law reflected the Legislative Will of the City Council that passed that law. After a very lengthy Planning Board process, the Planning Board voted to recommend keeping the Either:OR law.
    Despite Planning Board’s vote and recommendation, the following was put in front of City Council in the October 15, 2019 City Council Agenda Packet:

    “Given that such decisions are the purview of the City Council, we have retained the staff recommendations and are presenting the staff recommended code along with the Planning Board’s recommendations for the City Council’s consideration.”

    I think the above examples indicate a lack of respect for appointed citizen volunteers serving on Boards and Commissions. Boards and commissions should be granted the ability to function properly. Boards and commissions should vote before City Staff acts on their ideas. Recommendations by Boards and Commissions should be respected.

    I think all who consider volunteering should be aware of the City’s historical conduct.

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