City to hire racial equity consultant

Council agrees to ‘workable’ resolution

On Monday the Auburn City Council decided by a vote of 6 to 1 to contract with the Racing to Equity consulting group to provide city leaders and staff with racial equity training and help it develop policies.

A significant change from last week’s study session when, with only Councilmember Larry Brown absent, the council split 3 to 3.

Bill Peloza was the only no vote on Monday. His objection was that the council had not had enough time to study changes to the plan, which he noted, had arrived in their city hall boxes only shortly before the 7 p.m. meeting.

No, more delays, said Councilmember Yolanda Trout-Manuel.

“As I’ve said several times, the cost of this could be greater, like lawsuits, if we didn’t have this training in our city,” Trout-Manuel said.

Last week, councilmember Largo Wales objected to what she had considered the prospective plans overly narrow focus on racial iniquities when, she said, such an effort could also examine and address bias against other groups that deal with discrimination every day.

Wales had likewise questioned where the city would get the money to cover the costs of the program at a time when its tight budget situation and its inability to adequately meet the maintenance needs of its own street system are well known.

Councilman Claude DaCorsi, while supportive of racial equity training, last week questioned why the three council members who won’t be there after the new year – Wales, Peloza and John Holman – should be sitting for all that training.

Why not, DaCorsi suggested, delay training for a year to benefit the three freshman council members who will be there in 2020?

But a series of sweeping changes to the plan effected by city staff and others over the last week turned Wales and DaCorsi into enthusiastic yes votes, Candis Martinson, Direct or Human Resources and Risk Management for the city of Auburn, explained what the revised plan does:

• Trims the original $400,000, three-year plan to two years at a reduced cost of $141,150;

• Delays council training under the plan until 2020 so the three new council members can participate;

• Defers original community engagement measures in favor of revisiting them when the plan has run its two-year course. to allow recommendations about moving the plan forward;

• Delays the train-the-trainer program to “institutionalize” the training, that is, to bring it in house, until after the relationship with Racing to Equity ends.

“I’m in awe, in that I had a number of concerns, and every one of them you very aggressively dealt with in what I see as a positive way, and how you’ve sequenced the funding of it so we can make mid-term additions and subtractions,” Wales said to Martinson.

“I appreciate the effort that you and the mayor and others have taken in presenting us tonight with a resolution that I would say is workable,” said DaCorsi.

More in News

Mulenga, Baggett and Jeyaraj headed for victory in city council races

Holman and Grames separated by a whisker in bid for school board position

Utility work to require lane closures, disruptions to westbound traffic on Auburn Way South | UPDATES

Utility work by Potelco for Puget Sound Energy will continue through Friday,… Continue reading

Auburn Turkey Trot set for Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28

The Auburn Public Schools Foundation’s 5K fundraiser comes to Sunset Park on… Continue reading

Impacting health care in the community

South King Health Foundation’s initial campaign brings in $1.5 million for MultiCare medical centers | PHOTOS

Decal promotes local businesses

Sharp eyes out and about Auburn in the coming days and weeks… Continue reading

Separate is not equal: a flight for justice, a landmark case

Sylvia Mendez and her family fought for school desegregation more than 70 years ago

South King County Fire conducting live fire training on Nov. 26

The South King County Fire Training Consortium (SKCFTC) conducts live fire training… Continue reading

City of Auburn separates from chief of police

Assistant Chief Mark Caillier to serve as acting chief

Most Read