Today we're covering item 53 from the 12/13/22 Sac County Board of Supervisors meeting (yes we're a little late)
The item is question: Creating the Sac County Diversity and Equity Inclusion Cabinet
It's happened again….
The Board of Supervisors approved a resolution creating the Sacramento County Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Cabinet with an ALMOST unanimous vote. Supervisor Frost was the lone voice of dissent.
Supervisor Frost (D4) pictured above
Let's talk about this DEI Cabinet.
Where did this cabinet come from?
Well, in November 2020 the BOS adopted a Resolution that declared racism to be a public health crisis in Sacramento, and directed the County to create a Racial Equity Policy Cabinet. Two years later the BOS approved a contract with MGT Consulting to "assist the County in the research and outreach necessary to create the Cabinet" (text pulled from agenda doc), and the DEI Cabinet was born.
For her part, Frost made sure we did not forget about her previous opposition to the racism as a public health crisis Resolution in the first place, stating
I should go on record again saying that I did not vote on racism as a public health crisis. I voted no and did not support that
YES, WE KNOW!
Frost, focusing on mitigating racism in our County should NEVER be an issue that is ignored or undermined. It is important to focus on achieving equity in all aspects of living and extend equality to ALL members of our community. Focusing on racism is NEVER a problem!
Now, back to the creation of this cabinet
MGT - what do they do? (the meeting's comprehensive set MGT slides can found at this link)
MGT is a consulting firm that focuses on diversity & inclusion.
However, the community has expressed concerns over MGT and their intentions. Ultimately, the trust issues are the result of a lack transparency within MGT, as well as the firm's disregard for the inclusion of community voices. DEI efforts sound important on paper, but it is important that community voices are heard and that community needs are met. What the community doesn't need are more false promises. You can see some of the community concerns listed in the slide below.
MGT conducted very little outreach within the community. As stated below (text pulled from the agenda doc) there were only 2 focus groups held with CBOs
MGT held two focus groups with community-based organizations on the County’s proposed cabinet and solicited feedback. MGT also held eight focus groups with County staff and sent a survey to all County employees to gather feedback as well
MGT claims that, through the development of this DEI Cabinet, they can bring more inclusive hiring practices, provide consistency in accountability, and increase comfortability within the workplace. However, these words must be followed with action and change if we are to trust the DEI cabinet.
What is next?
MGT made some recommendations including the following (see slide below for more):
Hire and train a Chief DEI Officer responsible for implementing future DEI action plans
Create a dispute resolution process
Create an Internal Equity Cabinet that would enhance inclusion of staff and community voices in the County’s work
Establish an accountability plan that promotes transparency
Now that the cabinet has officially been created the County will have MGT work to create an Action Plan and engage the community on the topics of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
But there's more!
The DEI has a set of protocols that were established after several caucus meetings which were used to gather feedback from local organizations. These meetings also surveyed the levels of inclusion, positive change, and overall satisfaction within the workplace.
However, The LGBT+ caucus we left out of the DEI protocol meeting, even after being promised inclusion in said DEI protocols. In addition, there is a lack of certainty about who participated in the staff survey that was used to guide DEI protocols.
The DEI protocols seemed great at first glance, but the lack of inclusion that has been demonstrated MUST improve if real change is to come.
The County must value creating equity within our community and empowering and uplifting the voices of our diverse community members.