Frank Scott, Jr.’s Inclusion Agenda
Cities around the country are becoming more intentional about inclusion and diversity, and Little Rock should be no different. Cities like Birmingham are appointing their first ever LGBT Liaison, Chicago is being intentional about fostering pay equity among women and men through their own hiring practices, and New York City is taking active steps to ensure that the City’s own employment practices reflects the City’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.
It’s time for Little Rock to follow suit, which is why I’m sharing my Inclusion Agenda for Little Rock. We can’t unify Little Rock if every citizen doesn’t see themselves at the table, and my Inclusion Agenda makes sure that City Hall is intentional about leaving no group of residents behind. We also can’t say we’re truly open for business to global companies if they don’t see Little Rock as a progressive city where all of their employees would be welcome if they moved their company to Little Rock. We need bold leadership that’s committed to making real inclusion a reality. It’s the right thing to do, it’s good for our bottom line, and I’m ready for the job.
Rebranding the Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission as the Little Rock Human Rights Commission and Include Representation from Little Rock’s LGBTQ Community.
We’ve got a body that does great work in the community, but Little Rock’s diversity goes beyond cultural and racial diversity and equality -- it must also include our LGBTQ residents.
Rebranding the Racial and Cultural Diversity Commission as the Little Rock Human Rights Commission is a step forward in signaling to the rest of the country, to citizens, families, and businesses, that we care about equity and opportunity for everyone.
Creating Little Rock’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Little Rock needs someone who will be responsible for implementing the Mayor’s inclusion agenda, and having a Chief Inclusion Officer leading the Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion does just that.
This person would be charged with implementing the Mayor’s inclusion agenda and lead a rebranded RCDC (now the Little Rock Human Rights Commission) while also serving as Little Rock’s first LGBTQ liaison.
Creating a LGBT Liaison within the LRPD Community Policing Unit.
Members of the LGBT community are particularly susceptible to violent crime, so the City should ensure that LRPD has a unit that can liaise with the LGBT community, to build a strong relationship, and to understand the issues that the community faces.
Dedicating an officer or two within the community policing unit that has relationships with the various LGBT-oriented bars, clubs and restaurants with contacts at the various service providers in the community that support LGBT residents should be a welcomed addition to the way LRPD engages with Little Rock’s LGBT community.
Creating the Little Rock Community Review Board to Mediate Complaints of Police Misconduct and Working with our County Prosecuting Attorney to Create a Community Prosecution Program.
I allude to community policing, community prosecution, and the Little Rock Community Review Board in my public safety agenda, but inclusion can’t come when our communities and our law enforcement are not on the same page.
Real community policing and community prosecution brings our law enforcement out of their offices and their patrol cars and into the communities they serve. It’s my job to ensure that our law enforcement and our communities better understand one another and figure out how we can all work together to make Little Rock safer.
Being More Intentional about Recruiting More Diverse Officers to LRPD.
I fully support all of our hard-working LRPD officers, and I want to ensure that our force reflects an increasingly diverse city. That means being far more intentional about recruiting more women on our force, deepening our recruiting partnerships with Philander Smith and Arkansas Baptist College and LRSD, and recruiting more Hispanic officers and officers that speak Spanish who can be liaisons with our growing Hispanic community.
Encouraging LRPD to administer more frequent de-escalation and implicit bias training for LRPD officers that includes specific training on how to effectively engage the LGBT community.
Our city is evolving and becoming increasingly diverse, and we need to ensure that our officers have the tools and training to serve a Little Rock that is becoming more diverse.
All forms of implicit (or explicit) bias -- racial, ethnic, orientation -- need to be addressed both in the academy and on a regular basis as a condition of employment for LRPD officers if they’re not already doing this.
Convening a LGBTQ Task Force to Conduct a Review of LRPD’s General Orders to Make Recommendations on Engaging with LGBT Residents
Inclusion and culturally-competent policing will be a part of LRPD’s DNA, and that starts with the General Orders.
The task force will also give the Mayor an opportunity to build inroads with the LGBT community around an important issue (public safety and community policing).
Prohibit the Use of Salary History for All City Positions.
Families lose when women aren’t paid the same for doing the same work as men. Compelling evidence nationally suggests that pay disparities exist at every level of most organizations (e.g. within occupations and the same departments even with comparable education and experience).
Pay disparities are caused by a number of factors, including personnel and hiring practices that use salary history to make salary decisions. We shouldn’t perpetuate pay disparities by using them to set our own employee pay.
The City should set the tone for other employers locally by prohibiting the use of salary history in hiring decisions.
Conduct a Pay Equity Study of City Departments with Recommendations for Fostering Pay Equity Amongst our City Employees.
As one of the City’s largest employers, the City of Little Rock has to set the tone for pay equity in Little Rock.
That work starts by knowing where city departments have fallen short and going department by department to fix pay disparities wherever they exist.
By doing this, the City can set the example for businesses and organizations across our community and our state in closing equity gaps, and strengthening employee morale.
Reward Prospective City Contractors that Adopt Similar Pay Equity Policies.
Little Rock can’t tell employers what to do about pay equity within their own businesses, but we can tell the people the City does business with that there’s an expectation that if they want the City to purchase from them and do business, they’ll have to share our values around pay equity.
The Chief Diversity Officer will conduct a review of the City’s standard RFPs and make recommendations to modify them to include provisions that reward prospective bidders that share the City’s values.
Creating a Diverse Business Purchasing Plan for the City’s Purchasing Division.
Diversity and inclusion will be cornerstones of a Scott Administration and that includes who the City does business with. Little Rock has a diverse business community, but the City’s own spending doesn’t reflect the City’s diversity.
The City has to be intentional about diversity and inclusion in everything it does, and that includes purchasing. And when the City’s purchasing is diverse, that allows the City to maximize its purchasing power by supporting every segment of the City’s business community.
Partnering with Local Minority Chambers of Commerce and Other Local Organizations to Provide Support and Technical Assistance to Little Rock’s Diverse Small Businesses.
In addition to revisiting the City’s commitment to purchasing from diverse businesses, the EDC’s small business services can also work to address the unique challenges that diverse businesses encounter from issues accessing capital to breaking into supplier diversity programs with Arkansas’ larger corporate players.
The State has a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division, but there’s reason to believe that it’s programming doesn’t go far enough creating an opportunity for the City to step in and lead.
Ensuring Diverse Appointments to City Boards and Commissions
My Chief Inclusion Officer’s work will also include identifying diverse, young leadership to serve on the City’s Boards and Commissions. Everything from our parks to our airport to planning decisions are made by volunteer citizen commissioners. Unfortunately, we haven’t had nearly the kind of representation I’d like to see from millennial residents or the City’s African-American or Hispanic communities.
The newly-formed Mayor’s Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion would be intentional about proactively seeking out candidates from civic organizations, our churches and organizations across Little Rock to ensure that a new generation of more diverse candidates to help lead Little Rock.