Ward Three Councillor Mo Salih is sharing his frustration with the lack of diversity at City Hall.
London’s new diversity officer was hired back in September and introduced to the Community and Protective Services Committee on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Salih and Councillor Phil Squire introduced a motion to increase the number of visible minorities at City Hall.
Salih believes this is a major issue for Londoners.
“I get a lot of phone calls about this, and I get a lot of emails, and I get stopped at every opportunity there is when I’m talking to diverse members (of the community) and they have almost no confidence in getting in here, right?” said Salih. “Quite frankly, I don’t know if someone like me could actually probably get hired at the City of London. I’m here as a Councillor today, but I don’t know if I could get a job here.”
He wants to know how the plan will evolve over time.
“I just want to make sure that we can held accountable to the community because they’re going to say, ‘you spent over $100,000 or whatever the number is,’ and they want to know that we are actually going to deliver and have a more diverse workforce,” said Salih.
Human Resources Directer at City Hall, Veronica Major, said the diversity officer will have a lot of responsibility.
“As she will be working together with other members of the human resources and human rights team in terms of developing our multi-year recruitment outreach plan, and she will work with other members of the team, and that plan actually will focus on enhancing our relationships with the demographic groups that we have found to be underrepresented in our workforce census and survey, which we hope to aid in the attraction and retention of individuals in our community,” she said.
Earlier this year, Salih and Councillor Jesse Helmer expressed concerns about the new about the new diversity officer being placed in the HR department, since there’s already two people in that department currently working in the same area.
City manager Art Zuidema defended placing the diversity officer in the HR department, claiming that using the new position within the existing structure would be more beneficial than creating a new structure.
The meeting was held on the same day that Western University released the results of a new study, which found that visible minorities are significantly underrepresented in senior leadership in London.