JACKSON, Mich — A group of Jackson County commissioners and residents are working to ensure that all applicants have a level playing field when competing for jobs with the county.
“Frankly, it’s been a tumultuous year," said Jackson County commissioner Corey Kennedy, part of the group that's been crafting an anti-discrimination policy for the county. "Of course, you know the George Floyd death. It brought a lot of community activity and people were upset so we felt the need to get out in front of it and address what we could do.”
Jackson County officials say they don't tolerate discrimination in the workplace already.
The policy sets a goal of aggressively recruiting and hiring people from all walks of life in order to be reflective of the community. It would also establish a working committee to oversee the policy with the goal of giving everyone equal access to employment with Jackson County.
“We had some really robust discussion," Kennedy said. "Frankly some really uncomfortable discussions. It needed to be done, and, I think, at the end of the day, we had more in common than we had differences on this with people coming from all walks of life and we came together and had a solid plan.”
The county's population is nearly 87 percent white, Kennedy said, but 89 percent of county government employees are white and 91 percent of department heads are white.
“Really what it is, is finding quality individuals qualified for these positions that have years of experience in government, that have higher education degrees. So, we’ve came up with the idea of finding strategic partners to help come and recruit potential applicants," said Kennedy.
The policy still has a ways to go. The anti-discrimination committee passed their own rough draft a week ago. The committee is hoping the county's legal team will have it approved soon so it can be moved on to the full Board of Commissioners.
They say it could be voted on sometime in April.
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