Diversity Auditors Awarded Contract, Will Scrutinize City of Elk Grove's Human Resources Practices

The human resources audit of the City of Elk Grove will be conducted Holly Lake (left), of
San Francisco-based Miller Law Group and Santi Brien of Daylight Justice. 
December 14, 2017 | 

At last night's meeting of the Elk Grove City Council, a contract was awarded to the Miller Law Group to conduct an audit of the city's workforce diversity and hiring practices. The audit is being undertaken after the City of Elk Grove, which promotes itself as one of the nation's most ethnically and racially diverse communities, was widely criticized for its lack of within its workforce and police department.

According to a staff report for the contract, the Miller Law Group will be the primary contractor for the project and will be paid no more than $156,500. Miller will also use two subcontractors, Daylight Justice and Berkeley Research Group, to conduct the study and provide recommendations.

Along with several individuals, during the February 21, 2017, Elk Grove City Council meeting the Sacramento chapter of the NAACP criticized the city's lack of diversity in their workforce, with particular attention focused on the city's executive management team and requested the audit. At the time of that meeting, all of the city's executive managers including the city manager, police chief, assistant city manager, city attorney, director of finance, budget manager, city clerk and director of public works were white.

In response, the city council formed an ad hoc committee led by council members Pat Hume and Stephanie Nguyen and several community members. The committee held meetings to hammer out the scope of the project via a request for proposal and selection process for the ultimate contractor.

Appearing before the city council last night was Holly Lake of the San Francisco-based Miller Law Group and Shanti Brien of Oakland-based Daylight Justice. Lake explained the Miller Law Group would conduct the actual workforce audit while Brien said Daylight Justice would develop recommendations based on the audit results. 

"We are looking forward to partnering with the Miller Law Group to create some strategies that can really be effective and specific to the findings of the audit," Brien said. 

During council comments, Mayor Steve Ly asked Brien and Lake if in their experience they heard the comments that a particular workforce is not diversified because of the lack of qualified candidates who apply. 

Lake said that was a standard explanation for an undiversified workforce and said an organization needs to examine its recruitment practices.

"You need to look at the outreach that you are doing, and how you are communicating those open positions, and that requires some strategy," Lake said. 

Also speaking to the city council was Elk Grove resident Maureen Craft. With a background in human resources, Craft was part of the committee, along with Hume, Nguyen, and deputy city manager Kara Reddig, who evaluated the proposals.

Craft encouraged the selection of the Miller Law Group proposal saying "I think they will do an excellent job."

As part of their audit, Miller will conduct a comprehensive review of city staff practices including interviews of staff, recruitment practices, nepotism, and current human resources practices. Based on the results, the auditors will present findings and specific recommendations to address the problems.

The initial stage of the audit will begin on Friday and updates will be provided at various stages. The findings and the entire process is scheduled for completion on July 1, 2018. 
















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