Need to integrate workforce, represent population pressing
By JOSH RESNEK
The administration is claiming there are no qualified candidates to name to the newly created Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
Created more than a year ago, the new office is intended to deal with latent and overt racism in Everett.
Also, Everett needs to integrate its city workforce which is woefully and embarrassingly absent of people of color and ethnicity.
It is estimated that as little as 5% of the city workforce are non-whites at a time when the city’s population is largely immigrant, Black, and brown.
Recent racially charged incidents involving Councilor Gerly Adrien and the mayor and some of her city council colleagues point to the need for the position to be filled as soon as possible.
The inherent racism in public efforts to have Adrien resign or to shutter her from a ZOOM meeting, as the mayor suggested recently, has cast some doubt on the administration’s ability to run the city government without a constant flow of highly public civil rights violations.
“We cannot wait on providing solutions around issues related to diversity and equity. The city must move quickly and efficiently, to hire the best candidate so we can progress as a city,” Adrien said.
Councilor Fred Capone said he was dismayed that a city as vibrant and flourishing as Everett “ would have a problem filling the position.”
The city nearly always hides behind the right to privacy when it seeks not to answer pressing public questions about diversity.
However, most astute observers of the administration’s inability to integrate the city’s workforce, much less put a stop to damaging racially charged incidents, understand whoever is hired must do the mayor’s bidding in order to survive.
Perhaps this is why there have been no “qualified” candidates to date.
In neighboring Chelsea, that city has morphed since receivership in the early 1990s and has become an example of how a city ought to integrate its workforce and to meet the needs of its entirely changed population demographic.
Everett is reminiscent of Chelsea before receivership.
In the Chelsea of that era, the city had become largely Hispanic with no change in the city’s all-white old-line workforce.
Today, Chelsea is the example of a community that is minority/majority.
Take a walk into Chelsea City Hall today and one sees the diversity efforts which have led to the city workforce being turned upside down with Blacks, browns, and Hispanics.
Everett is more like Chelsea was almost 30 years ago.
The great majority of Everett city employees are white.
Blacks and browns are excluded, which the statistics show.
Despite being a minority/majority city today, Everett remains like Chelsea was until the city collapsed under the weight of municipal corruption and incompetence.
Everett remains an Anglo-white controlled bastion led by the mayor, who opposes diversity, this, despite its exotic mix of residents which includes large numbers of Brazilians, Haitians, Hispanics, Blacks, and Eastern Europeans which today dwarf all others.
The administration said last week it is hiring a recruitment company to find more qualified applicants for the diversity post as well as others that have failed to attract candidates.
The question for Everett’s leadership is why diversity is failing and what can be done to bring the city into the 21st Century to free it from the grips of segregation, exclusion, and latent racism.