Ann Arbor — At its Nov. 4 meeting, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners adopted a county-wide equity and inclusion statement along with updated non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. The Board also agreed to modifications to the existing building maintenance policy to prioritize the construction of gender-neutral restrooms in future county construction or renovation projects.
With the passing of the resolution (2020-602), “The Board of Commissioners continues to affirm that addressing systemic inequities is a key priority in making Washtenaw County an inclusive and equitable community for all,” said Alize Asberry Payne, the county’s racial equity officer who helped to craft the statement and policy.
The resolution is sponsored by all the current members of the leadership committee: Commissioners Jason Morgan, District 8 chair; Ricky Jefferson, District 6 vice-chair; Katie Scott, District 9 ways and means chair; and Sue Shink, District 2 working session chair.
The nondiscrimination Policy and Anti-Harassment Policy includes operational definitions, sets clear expectation for conduct and declares that, “All complaints of conduct inconsistent with these expectations, regardless of whether the conduct rises to the level of unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation will be investigated and substantiated complaints will result in prompt, corrective action, up to and including termination.”
“This started because we wanted to ensure that restrooms in the county were gender-neutral and accessible to everyone,” Morgan said. “It grew into so much more. Together, with the racial equity resolution that we passed in September of 2018, the establishment of the Racial Equity Office, hiring of our Racial Equity Officer and the Declaration of Racism as a Public Health Crisis — this equity and inclusion statement and nondiscrimination/anti-harassment policy will help guide our work toward a more fair and equitable county, both as a county government and a community.”