Letter to the editor: Proposed ‘REDI’ manager not the answer for achieving city’s diversity goals


It has come to my attention that the City of Edmonds has allotted a significant amount of money in the 2022 budget to pay for a newly created Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) Program Manager position.

It is my experience after nearly 30 years of working in the private sector and also with non-profit organizations that the only way these goals become a reality is for them to be a part of the job description, evaluation and compensation of every person in the organization with hiring and/or purchasing authority. “Race/equity/diversity/inclusion” managers who have no authority to hire, fire, affect compensation or award contracts end up being expensive figureheads who despite their talents, energy and skills are able to affect little or no change. They also tend to become a convenient scapegoat for leaders who instead of stepping up to the plate, shirk their obligations and blame the results on the “race/equity/diversity/inclusion” manager.

Save your money Edmonds. Hold the mayor and his staff accountable for race, equity, diversity and inclusion goals through appropriate job descriptions, performance reviews and compensation. If the mayor and his staff can’t set appropriate goals and the mayor can’t hold his staff accountable then we need a new mayor not an REDI manager.

Elizabeth Miakinin

  1. I agree. Its too hard to take care and keep an eye on all we already have. I think the Mayor and Council should handle this. I think they should want to handle this…I say no to REDI.
    If the council and Mayor think they won’t be blamed…well I don’t think they are realizing we are aware and watching. I want our Council to want to be involved…along with their Citizens. I didn’t elect these other people, we know nothing of them really. They should not be given that responsibility REDI nor should we as Citizens or Council and Mayor want them to. Thank you.

  2. Ms Miakinin makes excellent points that provoke thought and debate. We all consider our personal experiences when determining our points of view. The result of allocation of funds for a REDI program manager may well be true in the end as Ms Miakinin predicts. Still were the allocation of funds for such a position lead to a more inclusive Edmonds, that would be worth the expense. Of course this is my opinion.

  3. Wait… this is a new position created to shift blame of inevitable failure from the people who should actually be making good hiring decisions to a person who can be conveniently eliminated when citizens push back. If I considered myself a candidate I would never take this job. It is doomed from the start.

    1. If you need a “manager” to achieve what is just simply the right thing for your elected and appointed officials to do for you, you have a bigger problem than one individual can ever solve. This is just another Edmonds “window dressing” boondoggle.

  4. As the former CEO of a large company my approach would have been too hire a consultant on a short-term basis to advise me and the entire organisation on the implementation of the required policy, which would certainly involve job descriptions and performance objectives.
    This sort of change has to start at the top and cannot be successfully introduced by the insertion of a new person at a lower level.

  5. This LTE highlights the problem with a figurehead position setup to perform duties belonging to the leaders of the City. A position that restates policy and has no power, no reason to exist except as a whipping post if outcomes do not met expectations…that position does not add value.
    Let’s hold our leaders responsible, not hire a scapegoat.

  6. Thank you, Elizabeth, for this valuable information and perspective. I quoted you, and linked to this LTE in an email comment to Council for their budget public hearing held last night.

    Council is meeting again this Thursday to discuss the budget. I encourage everyone who has concerns about this position and/or other concerns about the budget, to write to Council@edmondswa.gov, mike.nelson@edmondswa.gov and publiccomment@edmondswa.gov so your comment will become part of the public record.

    The budget is scheduled to be finalized on November 16, so you still have time. Don’t expect the Councilmembers who most need to hear your concerns to read your comments here.

  7. I keep hoping to hear from the Mayor, exactly why we need this position in our city. Not feeling very optimistic that he will address it. He was elected on the promise of listening, communicating and being transparent. Still waiting.

  8. this mayor has already told you that he does not care about how you feel or what you think about his inabilities with communication and information. Time to move on from any expectation things will change. Need to focus on future leaders

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