Policy would establish “equity” teams at all local government offices

A new equity and inclusion policy is now being considered by the Prince William County Government, which mandates the creation of equity teams at every local government office.

Those teams would be made up of existing county employees who would ensure all employees adhere to the policy. Those teams would consist of current government employees, possibly department chiefs and division heads.

The policy states the county government”assesses its policies, programs, and practices through performance measures and an equity lens of intersectionality,” which asks individuals to consider someone’s past experiences when judging them for actions taken in the present day.

The policy also calls for employees to sit through cultural competency training which aims to get workers to “understand the dimensions of our cultural self, the sphere of influence, diversity of perspectives, equity tools, normalizing terms, and definitions…”

It also calls for the use of an inclusive index, a tool the county states measures the effect of a person’s actions and how much it marginalizes another employee or group of employees.

Overall, the policy calls for social justice in all facets of government, from the courthouse, public housing to building  a transportation network that leads to “a healthier community.”

Stemming from the height of the pandemic, Board of County Supervisors At-large Chair Ann Wheeler directed County Executive Chrsitoper Martino on June 2, 2020, to create such a policy. Two weeks later, Occoquan District Supervisor Kenny Boddye set her ball in motion to create the policy in a resolution that states “inclusion requires not only equal treatment bu equitable tools in policies and practices that assess how we deliver our services, who benefits from them, and how participates in their planning.”

The public has until Friday, July 23, to comment on the proposed policy.

Meanwhile, the county’s Racial and Social Justice Commission, which meets monthly, was established last fall to review the hiring practices of the county’s police department. As of late, the commission has been mired in policy disagreements on how best to achieve its goal and an investigation into a claim made by the husband of Prince William County Potomac District Supervisor Andrea Bailey that a police officer used the N-word when referring to him.

Rev. Cozy Bailey, the head of their county’s NAACP chapter, claimed an officer used the word when referring to him “several years ago.” Mac Haddow, who represents the Coles District on the commission, motioned for a full investigation into the claim.

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