Taylor to appoint human relations liaison, initiate Dept. of Diversity & Inclusion

The mayor's LGBT advisory group met for the first time on October 9, 2014. Present at the meeting were Ruby Krebs, Marsha Warren, Mayor Ivy Taylor, Leilah Powell and Robert Salcido. (Courtesy photo.)

San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor announced this afternoon that she is appointing a human relations liaison who will handle complaints made under the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance and head up a proposed Department of Diversity and Inclusion.

According to an email Out In SA received from Leilah Powell, the mayor’s chief of policy, the new liaison will “allow the City to proactively educate the community about its non-discrimination policies and its commitment to support diversity and inclusion.”

“With City Council approval, at the mid-year budget adjustment, this position will serve as a perfect complement to our fully-functional website that focuses on receiving and processing written complaints.  The proposed Office of Diversity and Inclusion focuses on promoting the value that diverse populations bring to our community, including promoting contracting and employment opportunities within the City,” Mayor Taylor said in the announcement.

“I know that all San Antonians share the goal of living in an economically thriving and diverse community and helping it continue to grow,” the mayor added.

“Having one place to file any complaints is fantastic. This is one example of how San Antonio believes in inclusiveness for all its citizens,” Marsha Warren, the mayor’s liaison to the LGBT community said in the release.

According to the announcement:

The Human Relations Liaison will not only receive and review all written complaints from the website but will also provide responsive attention by phone and in person to facilitate conciliation between the individual who believes they have been discriminated against and the business, landlord, or agency involved.  The Liaison will provide a single point of contact for complainants and City staff responsible for assuring non-discrimination and prosecuting addressing complaints.  The Office of Diversity and Inclusion will also provide training and presentations to the community about the City’s non-discrimination policies. Existing resources will be utilized to create the Human Relations Liaison.

In a much-heralded announcement last October, the mayor’s office said it was assembling an LGBT advisory committee to help the mayor correct the NDO’s shortcomings. The committee of three includes Warren, Ruby Krebs and Robert Salcido.

Today’s announcement came as a surprise to local LGBT activists who feared that Taylor, who had voted against the NDO when she was still a councilwoman, might let the issue slide until after the mayoral election.

According to the press release, 13 NDO complaints involving public accommodations, city contractor employment, city services and housing have been filed with the city.

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