Kitsap County News

County Commissioners announce next steps in creation of a diversity, equity and inclusion committee4/5/2021

This week, Kitsap County Commissioners renewed their commitment to advancing equity in the allocation of services and resources, identifying barriers and ensuring there are more opportunities for community members to be a part of the process of developing, strengthening and supporting policies and procedures. As part of this, Commissioners took the next steps in creation of a diversity and equity inclusion committee and will be establishing a charter and bylaws, in consultation with community members.

The committee’s work will include assisting the county in drafting goals, strategies and actions in its review of procedures, policy and planning through an equity lens. Commissioners will issue a request for qualifications for a consultant to join staff in coordinating the effort and supporting outreach to communities to ensure the structure and recruitment for the group are inclusive.

“While the pandemic may have slowed our progress, the commitment is solid for creating and enhancing a culture and operational lens to make sure our workforce, work processes, and boards/commissions are reflective of the community we serve.” said Robert Gelder, current chair of the Board of Commissioners.

This is a long-term commitment to improve and more deeply integrate diversity and equity in the delivery of services and resources to Kitsap communities and the county workforce. It also provides meaningful opportunities to educate staff, extend and create community partnerships and have impactful dialogue with community members.

Commissioners appreciate and value the relationships they have with Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities in Kitsap and will continue to work with them towards a common goal of improving and ensuring equitable access and outcomes for everyone.

In addition to a commitment to create a diversity, equity and inclusion committee, Kitsap County has joined the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a national network of government groups working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all, offering staff training, resources and toolkits. County Commissioners are also looking at efforts in other counties and cities nationwide in creating an equity and inclusion strategy.

The request for qualifications to hire a coordinator is expected to be released next month and Commissioners will be meeting regularly with county leadership to work in coordination and ensure all departments are engaged in the effort. Commissioners hope to have a consultant hired and begin formation of the committee this summer.

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