It is our understanding from a variety of sources at Everett City Hall that the city, the administration, that is, has begun a process to show that it is working against racism, discrimination and retaliation.
We are told that Cathy Draines, the city’s chief equity officer, and a Black woman, has started to swing into action after apparently being held back for months during the key moments when far reaching allegations of racism swept city hall and its leadership.
The announcement of a Federal investigation into racism in Everett city government by the US Attorney Rachel Rollins, has caused the wheels of progress to start turning in this city.
However, we have been told that the city, or Draines, or the mayor has reached out to hire a law firm or a consultant specializing in race equity.
It is presumed (as the mayor and the administration do not communicate with the Leader Herald) that the city’s Human Resources department is where the effort has begun.
We have information indicating that HR has now created a 6-7 page document with all the bells and whistles regarding racism, discrimination and retaliation causing all department heads, and perhaps even all city employees, to read and to sign as part of the education process intended to reduce the serious oversights that have flawed city government hiring and employment practices here for decades.
The questions about this are manifold.
Who has the city hired?
At what cost do these services cost?
What account in the city budget apparatus have the funds been taken to secure the new services?
Was a bid process used to secure the new outside hire as required by law?
Was a contract signed or agreed to?
Who signed off on payments made to the vendor?
What are the qualifications of the vendor?
Who exactly approved of this and is any public scrutiny allowed?
These are all questions that must be answered by the city to ensure that the right thing all around is being done on an issue that has set the city on fire, and which has already destroyed the careers of a city councilor and of the mayor’s communication’s chief.
A number of other city officials, lawyers, employees and former councilors, are also likely to be scrutinized closely for civil rights violations key in the US Attorney’s investigation.
The administration, and especially the administration’s key player – the mayor – needs to be transparent about this new ef- fort to cut the rough edge of racism from city government.
It is hardly coincidental that the city’s new effort has been caused by the Federal investigation and likely would not have come to be unless the investigation was taking place.
The US Attorney, we are certain, will understand the timing of this late effort to reverse the stigma of racism that is attached to so many facets of city government in this city.
Everyone should be treated fairly and equally here by city government – but they aren’t, and they might never be unless this investigation has teeth.
We shall soon find out where the US Attorney will probe and what she will find and what action, if any, she will take.