EDITORIAL: Were all for diversity, but what does it mean? – Times Herald-Record

Posted By on July 5, 2020

Times Herald-Record

If you want to inspire change, you need to know where you are, where you want to be and how you want to get there.

You also need to define you.

Orange County legislators this week decided that they want more diversity and have taken the first and important step of allocating $100,000 for a diversity intervention initiative. The original concept, proposed several years ago by Michael Amo, focused on potential conflicts concerning the Satmar Hasidic community of Kiryas Joel, much of which Amo represents. This week, at the urging of several Democratic legislators, they expanded the scope to include racial and ethnic conflicts.

So far, so good, sort of.

While the chairman of the Legislature has promised that there will be inclusion and oversight and input from all legislators, especially leadership as the proposal evolves, the county needs to do more, a lot more, and do it quickly.

It starts with communication. What exactly does the resolution that passed say? It was not posted on the county website and anybody hoping to at least read the minutes of the meeting is out of luck. In fact, the last official minutes posted on the Legislatures section of the site is from Jan. 6. Needless to say, a lot has happened since.

If they do nothing else over this holiday weekend, Orange County legislators need to make sure that the people they hope to engage in this effort know whats going on.

For those who like to say that the government should be run like a business, every course in Management 101 urges bosses to be SMART, to make sure that any plan is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound.

Legislators need to be specific. Exactly what conflicts are they talking about and what would the resolution of those conflicts look like? How are they going to measure this, both the level of conflict that exists now and the level they hope to achieve?

Can they do it? That is not something they can answer on their own, making the need to communicate with those who live in the county, especially those who do not pay attention to legislative actions, urgent.

Are such goals realistic? A quick survey of the many angry posts on any Facebook entry regarding Kiryas Joel reveals the depth and breadth of the hostility that this initiative needs to deal with.

And finally, when is this going to start and end?

What we got this week from legislators were good intentions promoting diversity, dealing with conflicts with many details to be filled in later and more questions than answers.

Democrats on the Legislature want diversity training for all county employees, including elected officials, as well as a more diverse county workforce measured by real numbers. They want deputies from the county Sheriffs Office to be required to wear body cameras along with the creation of a community complaint commission to oversee grievances against corrections and sheriffs office staff.

Its a lot to take on, more than the majority can handle by itself. With help, they can do it, but that means including people in our diverse community and being SMART.

Read more:

EDITORIAL: Were all for diversity, but what does it mean? - Times Herald-Record

Related Post

Comments

Comments are closed.