New Diversity, Inclusion Job Description Presented

OCEAN CITY – While it is uncertain if claims of civil rights violations after incidents on the Boardwalk were the catalyst, resort officials this week got a first look at a job description for the proposed new diversity equity and inclusion position.

In November, the council voted unanimously to start the process of hiring a diversity equity and inclusion (DEI) position. City Manager Doug Miller was instructed to do research and create a job description for the new position, along with potential grade and salary. Miller returned during this week’s work session with a job description along with a job description for a second potential recruitment, retention and inclusion (RRI) position that would, if approved, augment to DEI position.

“We’re also looking at a recruitment and retention position,” he said. “Diversity equity and inclusion are fairly common in the private sector, but it’s a fairly new concept in the public sector. I looked at job descriptions for DEI positions in North Carolina and Ohio as I formulated these job descriptions.”

In June, a pair of incidents on the Boardwalk led to claims of use of excessive force by police, as well as civil rights violations. For the record, the FBI last fall announced its inquiry into incidents determined neither case rose to the level of federal civil rights violations.

Following those incidents, Mayor Rick Meehan met with state and local civil rights activists to discuss a variety of issues. Out of that meeting was borne the creation of a diversity and inclusion work group to begin exploring some of the issues raised.

Around the same time, Ocean City was advertising for a new professional development and training coordinator. In a memo to Miller, Meehan suggested changing that advertised job title to Diversity, Inclusion and Training Coordinator and alter the job description to reflect that change.

“The world around us is changing and we are following behind when we need to lead,” Meehan’s memo to Miller read. “This would help us to become more sensitive to today’s society and help us build a better commitment to having a welcoming environment throughout our workforce and Ocean City.”

In November, the council voted to direct Miller to explore similar DEI positions and come back with an appropriate job description. On Tuesday, Miller, after researching similar DEI positions in other areas around the country, came back with a job description for the town’s new DEI position.

“This position will lead efforts to create new administrative procedures and policies that implement strategies to promote equity and inclusion in the organization and supporting the diversity equity and inclusion efforts in the community and with other stakeholders,” a summary of the job description reads. “This position will be involved at the policy level as well as setting the strategic direction of the town from a diversity and inclusion perspective.”

According to the job description, the new position’s duties will include, but are not limited to, providing leadership, guidance and support to internal and external partners in the delivery of equity policy and programs, and assist the Human Resources department in developing, coordinating and presenting training related to various diversity and inclusion issues that  include unrecognized biases, racism, gender, xenophobia, misogyny, pervasive inequities, micro- and macro-aggressions, culture of civility, and other oppressive situations or occurrences.

Miller also presented a job description for the proposed RRI position.

“This position will work closely with internal department and division leaders to develop strategic recruitment and retention efforts to attract and retain a highly talented, diverse workforce,” a summary of the job description reads.

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.