Tuesday, May 24, 2022

New Hanover County creates Office of Diversity and Equity

Development is a hot topic in New Hanover County, but how does a development actually go from an idea to construction? (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)
New Hanover County’s new Office of Diversity and Engagement would include internal training and reaching out to other community partners. (Port City Daily/Michael Praats)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY — Protests across the nation over the past two weeks have brought racism, inequality, and a demand for law enforcement reforms to the forefront and, in New Hanover County, some change appears to be happening.

“This week, New Hanover County Government established an Office of Diversity and Equity, with a mission to promote an inclusive and fair work environment and build a culture and community where employees and residents are respected, valued and understood for their own identity,” according to a press release from the county.

It is worth noting that this is not just another appointed board made up of community members, but a staffed office department.

“The county is making real and resourced commitments to affect change, both inside and outside our organization,” County Manager Chris Coudriet said. “This new office and its staff will work daily to promote racial and social justice, cultivate important relationships, have crucial conversations, be a resource for our community, enhance training for our employees and law enforcement, and so much more. The county is committed to be an ally and an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in all that we do.”

The new office would also be engaging with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. While NHCSO is administratively separate from the county, the new office would be looking at new potential training for deputies alongside other county department employees.

While community leaders have been fairly quiet on the current situation across the nation, County Chairwoman Julia Olson-Boseman did weigh in on the creation of this new department.

“I appreciate our staff who have listened to the community, calling for much-needed change,” Olson-Boseman said. “I truly believe we must work together to achieve racial justice, equity, and positive change, and challenge ourselves to have honest and open discussions about racism. I think this office will help us in that effort, and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together as a community.”

While the county is utilizing existing resources to provide for the new office, it will also be hiring a new leader for the department.

“The Office of Diversity and Equity is being created using existing resources, both in office space and positions, and a Chief Diversity and Equity Officer will be hired over the coming weeks to lead the department. This new leadership position was posted today and can be viewed here,” according to the release.

The position is advertised at the pay range from $92,842 – $157,831.

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