Gov. John Carney is directing the state to create a uniform anti-discrimination policy.
Carney signed an Executive Order Wednesday mandating the policy be in place April 1st and include a single set of complaint procedures for state employees.
Carney says currently, different state agencies have their own anti-discrimination policies.
“Some agencies I think do better than others, and some agencies – within departments – don’t do so well," Carney said.
Delaware Faith In Action Council founder Alicia Clark is taking a wait and see approach to the change.
“This is just a policy on paper and so we need to understand and see what’s the plan, and who will be driving that process in state government," Clark said. "Because it has to be someone who is skilled, culturally competent, has the wherewithal to do it – the jurisdiction and the authority.”
Carney admits a diversity officer is needed to help implement the policy and hold state agencies accountable, but says one hasn’t yet been identified.
That concerns Clark – who says simply having a diverse workforce isn’t enough.
“Are those individuals provided opportunities to advance within the agency?" Clark asked. "Are they being included in discussions about policy, and programs and practices? That’s what inclusion means.”
Clark says identifying a diversity officer is critical to ensuring diverse state employees aren’t just hired – but are fully included in their departments.
Yet she says the executive order is a good first step, noting creation of a uniform complaint process was one of seven recommendations in a report released last January that she helped author.
That report and its recommendations were the culmination of over 100 interviews with state employees from minority groups who pointed to discrimination in state government.