Lexington hopes to have a diversity officer who will focus on minority recruitment for city positions starting this fall, city officials said Tuesday.
The city will advertise for the position in September and hopes to hire someone by late fall, said Jenifer Wuorenmma, a city administrator.
Wuorenmaa spoke Tuesday about the new position during an Urban County Council work session.
“This will be a great opportunity for Lexington and in the state of Kentucky. We will be one of the first,” said Wuorenmma.
The diversity and inclusion officer will focus on increasing the number of minorities at all levels of city government, promote inclusion and develop strategic goals for creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. In addition, the officer will work with boards, commissions and other groups. The officer will also speak to community groups and help foster inclusion in Lexington.
The job requirements include a bachelor’s degree and six years of work experience. The salary will be between $56,632 and $84,949 a year. Those are just the minimum requirements, she said.
The city had a diversity officer in the past, but that person was appointed by the mayor. It’s not clear when that position was eliminated. The new diversity officer will not be appointed but will report to the chief administrative officer’s office.
Councilman James Brown suggested the creation of the position during council budget deliberations this summer. The city has struggled in prior years to recruit minorities for the police and fire departments and other key positions. Brown suggested the officer focus on those efforts as well as community outreach to foster better relations.
Mayor Jim Gray applauded the addition.
“We are living in a time where these issues are significant and serious,” Gray said. “Addressing them in a systematic and deliberate way is appropriate.”