On Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020, Kent Mayor Dana Ralph issued a Mayoral Directive to all Department Directors and City employees, taking action on advancing race and equity initiatives after the City Council tabled a resolution on race and equity at their most recent meeting.
“Addressing race and equity in local government and policing is critical and cannot wait,” Mayor Ralph said. “I am disappointed that the City Council was unwilling to move forward a resolution on race and equity, while waiting for a more perfect document. Now isn’t the time to wait – we can always wordsmith a document but delaying action on this topic isn’t something I am willing to wait for. I applaud the leadership of several city council members for pushing for adoption of the resolution and immediate action.”
Ralph’s directive (download PDF here) calls for:
- The creation of a strategic plan on race and equity
- The creation of an equity manager position
- Review of hiring and promotion practices
- Race and equity training for all city employees
- The formalization of the police department’s diversity task force
- Review of police policies including use-of-force policies, duty-to-intervene
policies and equity policies
- Adding co-responder models, use of force reporting requirements, data collection funding, and translation funding to the state legislative agenda
“As the 10th most diverse city in the country we simply can’t kick the can down the road on such a critical issue. We must take steps today to ensure Kent is a welcoming place with a government that serves all residents equitably and with the respect they deserve. This directive doesn’t replace a much larger strategic plan we need to create. During the creation of that plan we will engage our BIPOC community to incorporate their vision into our shared plan,” Ralph continued.
Ralph’s Mayoral Directive will take effect immediately and be issued to all Department Directors and employees.
“I welcome city councilmembers to join me in taking a stand for our residents. We need to be clear that we are and will work to be an anti-racist city government. As elected officials we have an obligation to do what is best for our residents. The time for action is now and as the Mayor, the buck stops here,” Ralph added.
Seattle learned a hard lesson (loss of PC Carmen Best) on acting too quickly. Isn’t this directive being discussed at Saturday’s meeting? I would rather have the document correct after integrating community concerns and having careful deliberation than making a knee-jerk reaction by council. I applaud the council members who voted to discuss the issues at a workshop within a weeks time.