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Select Board Receives Update on Work of DEI Committee

The Burlington Select Board received an update on the work of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee during Monday night’s meeting and the two groups put the scheduling of a longer, more involved gathering in play.

The presentation started with an update on the committee’s ongoing report from Chair Dr. Barbara Addison Reid. She started by saying that at the start of the year the committee first received documents from, and then gave presentations to Town Clerk Amy Warfield and Human Resources Director Joanne Faust. They also gave the first presentation to the Select Board in February and then reviewed that presentation in their subsequent meeting where they also worked to identify the key leaders in the community.

Dr. Reid said that in the spring they updated the suggested Select Board mission statement and submitted it for comments as well as reviewed the Human Resources rules and regulations policies. The committee also reviewed rules and regulations for union contracts and made updates to the proposed updates. Finally for that time period they met with numerous town department heads and other boards and committees to discuss how to work together in the future.

During the meeting Select Board Chair Nick Priest, who is also on the DEI Committee, said he was encouraged that when the committee reached out to other boards and department heads they found work in this area already underway.

“I want to acknowledge something I found interesting is that when reaching out to other boards and committees we found they were already engaged in this work,” he said.

Priest said moving forward they would like to schedule a workshop that will include both the Select Board and the DEI Committee to have time to have more in depth conversations about what the committee has been working on and so that the DEI Committee could gain a further grasp of the general philosophies and thinking of the Select Board members in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion. He recommended starting with a 90-minute session with possible future meetings and said he would create an online portal so they could all submit their availability.

Finally, members of the Select Board thanked the DEI Committee for all the hard work they have put into their research and the subsequent reports and recommendations.

“The first thing that caught my eye is that between you doing all those interviews and the reports it is a lot of work so I want to thank you for the time you’re putting into this,” member Mike Runyan said.

“I would also like to thank the committee for their work on this,” member Mike Espejo added.