City officials said Southfield has always valued diversity. The City Council recently approved a new deputy director of diversity, equity, inclusion and training position as city officials realize there is still work to be done in promoting diversity.

City officials said Southfield has always valued diversity. The City Council recently approved a new deputy director of diversity, equity, inclusion and training position as city officials realize there is still work to be done in promoting diversity.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Southfield develops new diversity position

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published June 25, 2021

 This position will report directly to Human Resources Director James Meadows. The position will remain open until filled, and the salary ranges from $74,603 and $100,930 annually.

This position will report directly to Human Resources Director James Meadows. The position will remain open until filled, and the salary ranges from $74,603 and $100,930 annually.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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SOUTHFIELD — City officials said Southfield prides itself on diversity. From the workforce to the general population, people from all walks of life can be found within the city limits.

Mayor Ken Siver said he has been part of multiple efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in Southfield, including sponsoring a festival that exposed people to different customs, dress, food and personal interactions. But Silver said the city recognizes that there is still work to be done, and so the city has created a new position: the deputy director of diversity, equity, inclusion and training.

“From where I sit, I think, overall, we do a very good job on maintaining diversity and appreciating differences,” Siver said. “However, I see this position as taking the temperature or taking an audit. I know that as mayor, people respond to me differently than they might respond to someone else. While I don’t see overt problems, I think it’s smart to take a look.”

As stated in the job description, “This position will oversee the development and implementation of programs and services that promote diversity and inclusion by means of continuous evaluation of (the) city of Southfield’s commitment to equality, and provide support through training and understanding.”

The salary for this position will range anywhere from $74,603 and $100,930 annually, and the person who fills it will report to Human Resources Director James Meadows.

“The city of Southfield has traditionally had a reputation of being a great organization to work in,” Deputy Human Resources Director Maria Calhoun said in an email. “Leadership wants to ensure that employees continue to experience a sense of belongingness and support. Understanding the importance of diversity to organizational culture is also an important component in attracting and retaining new talent.”

Calhoun said the Southfield City Council recently approved the position, and it will be posted as a vacancy soon.

Among the many responsibilities the position will have, perhaps the most important is to actively research and develop new training sessions and practices that address common workplace challenges regarding cultural awareness of racial microaggressions, identity, social difference and inequality, and how to incorporate mitigation techniques into the workplace through collaboration with staff and department leaders.

The new staff member will provide strategic leadership in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equity while cultivating a supportive and inclusive work environment for all employees.

“I would say that the majority of folks who work in the city of Southfield come in contact with the public,” Siver said. “Having that training, understanding and renewing this information is important. I’m certainly supportive of the position. I think this position opens the door to dialogue, which is very important.”

Opening a dialogue is one of the best ways to tackle any issues that may arise among those who represent the city. Above all, this position aims to educate city officials, allowing them to lead the city in the best way possible.

“Diversity initiatives are at the forefront of recent societal and organizational reforms and cannot be ignored,” Calhoun said. “Creation of this position in recognition of demographic changes within the organization and the community highlights the city’s commitment to a continuous improvement process that ensures community members continue to receive the highest quality of service.”

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