BY COUNCILOR GARDNER:
The city council finds as follows:
(a) Discrimination is real in the city of Duluth; and
(b) The existence of a human rights office in Duluth provides a voice, process and opportunity for positive outcomes for people who are economically, politically and socially marginalized; and
(c) The human rights office deals with protected classes in areas of credit, employment, housing, public accommodations, public service, education and business. These significantly affect the ability and quality to live life in Duluth; and
(d) The human rights office is responsible for affirmative action and maintaining workplaces free of violence and sexual harassment; and
(e) The director of the human rights office is the equal opportunity representative. As a city official, he/she provides the functions necessary to qualify the city to receive federal and state funds as an equal opportunity employer and supporting the Federal Fair Housing Act objectives; and
(f) The human rights office budget is $160,000 per year, of which $120,000 is paid for by a federal grant, which has already been received by the city, leaving a balance of $40,000, which can be offset by budget efficiencies in other areas of the city; and
(g) The human rights office is authorized by Chapter 29C of the City Code, which shows the city’s commitment, and it is the voice of law and public conscience that acknowledges the need to stand against human rights violations in our city; and
(h) Municipal budgets are more than line items, they are statements of a city's priorities, moral values, fairness and vision; and
(i) The Duluth community is changing and growing culturally and the human rights office is needed to ensure continuation of its education and advocacy for the people without traditional political power and protections; and
(j) The human rights office is in the midst of a three year cycle as a HUD grant recipient, of which an additional $120,000 will be provided in 2009. In addition, upon completion of the fair housing training program, by 2010, the office will be in a position of generating revenue to the city by providing inspections and certifications.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that Resolution 08-0401 be amended by eliminating and deleting from it the following language:
“Close the human rights office.”
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: This resolution stops the proposed closing of the Duluth human rights office.