Diversity study in Chandler progressing, city says - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Diversity study in Chandler progressing, city says

April 25th, 2022 SanTan Sun News
Diversity study in Chandler progressing, city says

By Ken Sain
Staff Writer

Chandler’s study of diversity, equality and inclusion issues is progressing on schedule.

Councilmember OD Harris requested an update on the diversity, equity and inclusion survey the city commissioned and was told an action plan for Council to consider would be presented this summer.

The city hired CPS HR as a consultant to put together the DEI assessment and make recommendations.

They began by meeting with every member of the council to find out what diversity, equity and inclusion meant to them and what they would consider a successful outcome.

Next, Niki Tapia, the city’s DEI program manager, said they chose 25 citizens to serve on a committee.

“It’s a very diverse panel that represents the different ages, faiths, races, ethnicities, and genders of our city,” Tapia said. “Individuals were selected to represent as much diversity as possible, as well as individuals who had the time to commit to this project.”

The committee broke up into smaller subcommittees that are looking at a number of DEI-related issues.

They include: Understanding youth population service needs; improving opportunities for all voices to be heard/community voice coming in; LGBTQ+ outreach and resources; building community partnerships; and improving external communications so the city’s voice gets out to all groups.

Harris wanted to know if a non-discrimination ordinance was one of the issues they are looking at as Chandler is the largest city in Arizona that has not adopted a non-discrimination ordinance.

“It will be,” Tapia said. She said the topics she discussed during her presentation before Council this month were the ones that came up the first time the 25-person committee met to discuss what works well, and what needs to be improved in Chandler’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

She said since then they have had other conversations and a NDO has been brought up. When Council first considered passing a NDO it was rejected on a 5-2 vote. The mayor instead chose to release a non-binding proclamation. Harris and Matt Orlando were the two councilmembers in favor of a NDO.

The Chandler Chamber of Commerce and a number of the city’s top businesses have expressed support for a NDO.

Harris said he wanted to see a scientific poll to measure support for a NDO and was concerned the consultant hired by the city was relying instead on a survey.

Tapia pointed out the first survey was done by the city Human Rights Commission. She said that gives them a solid base to consider recommendations.

Tapia said the committee expects to wrap up its work in May. While it is doing its work, the city will also survey its employees and also break up into committees that will meet in May and June.

Members of the public can also comment through the city’s website.

The final report with recommendations is expected to be presented to Council in July.