Category Archives: Unconscious bias

Roadmap for Benicia’s new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Initiative

First public sharing of last August’s historic resolution

By Roger Straw, March 30, 2021

Signed-Resolution-No.-20-103-with-Job-Description-Attachment.pdf

On my request, the Benicia City Manager has shared the final draft of Resolution No. 20-103, “Resolution of the City Council of the City of Benicia Recognizing Benicia Black Lives Matter and Consideration of Actions to Address Unconscious Bias.”

Previously, I had not been able to locate on the City website a final draft of the Resolution, which underwent lengthy discussion and some significant changes at Council last August.

For comparison, the DRAFT version of the Resolution is easily discoverable on the City website.   A full record of Council comments and public discussion at the August 25, 2020 meeting is available on the City website in the minutes of that meeting.  The August 25, 2020 agenda links to a staff report that accompanied the meeting.

The staff initially recommended funding of $133,000 for a 30 hour per week ETI Manager.  Council Member Largaespada opposed the initiative in its entirety and voted against the motion.  Council member Campbell did not want the salary to exceed $80,000/year.  After discussion, Council shaved it back to $89,000 for 20 hours per week, a highly disappointing outcome, but nonetheless a historic moment with high expectations.  For job description details, see the City’s Job Bulletin, also released to me today.

Now that the City has called into service our new Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Manager, Dr. Maliika Chambers, it will be important for the public to support her work and monitor progress as the initiative moves forward.


DOWNLOAD: FINAL DRAFT – Resolution of the City Council of the City of Benicia Recognizing Benicia Black Lives Matter and Consideration of Actions to Address Unconscious Bias, August 25, 2021


Dr. Maliika Chambers, Benicia ETI Manager – Bio

Dr. Maliika Chambers

Dr. Maliika Chambers is a renowned learning, talent, and leadership development expert with over 20 years of experience transforming organizational culture to build diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces where communities live, learn, and work successfully.

As a university professor, she worked to prepare the next generation of professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and business. She has authored several trade and academic journal articles focused on best practices in driving cultural change through crisis response management, tailoring solutions to the needs of diverse audiences, and the role of executive engagement in successful business transformation efforts.

As a systems architect, her work helps corporations design the infrastructure that drives business strategy, promotes employee development, and retains top talent around the world. Dr. Chambers’ leadership and talent development work spans multiple industries including utility, healthcare, and high-tech. In those roles, she developed strategic business plans to address three critical areas: the alignment of human capital management and business priorities; the design of equitable spaces for cross-functional collaboration; and the critical attributes of sustainable cultural transformation.

Dr. Chambers holds advanced degrees in Sociology, Curriculum Development, Systems Design, Leadership and Organizational Development. She is a certified project manager, credentialed educator, and professional advisor to the California State Board of Education, the Western Association of Colleges and Universities, and the US Department of Education. Dr. Chambers also serves as a Governing Board member for Junior Achievement of Northern California.

“The challenges of equity, inclusivity, and accessibility we face continue to evolve and persist in communities, classrooms, and boardrooms today. I’m excited by the opportunity to build on the current efforts in the City of Benicia to yield positive change, and wholeheartedly support the desire to sustain a vibrant, inclusive, and more equitable environment for Benicia employees, residents, and the local business community.”

Welcome Dr. Maliika Chambers, Benicia’s new Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Manager

Benicia City Manager announces hiring of Equity and Diversity Manager

(City of Benicia This Week, by City Manager Erik Upson, March 29, 2021)

Dr. Maliika Chambers, City of Benicia Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager

Today is the first day for our new part-time, limited duration Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Manager.

This ties to the Council’s Strategic Goal of High Performing Government under Priority 6.4 – “Hire Equity Manager by April 2021, implement equity committee within two months of hiring manager, conduct equity study by December 2021”. These tasks were directed by Council Resolution in August of 2020.

I am very excited to be able to bring on such a remarkable manager in Dr. Maliika Chambers. The two panels who interviewed the candidates (community and staff) both were incredibly impressed with Maliika. During my interview with her I found her to be very powerful, positive and committed to bringing people together to find strength in unity, diversity and equity. Her bio is included below.

Erik Upson
City Manager
CityofBeniciaThisWeek@ci.benicia.ca.us


Dr. Maliika Chambers – Bio

Dr. Maliika Chambers

Dr. Maliika Chambers is a renowned learning, talent, and leadership development expert with over 20 years of experience transforming organizational culture to build diverse, inclusive, and equitable spaces where communities live, learn, and work successfully.

As a university professor, she worked to prepare the next generation of professionals in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and business. She has authored several trade and academic journal articles focused on best practices in driving cultural change through crisis response management, tailoring solutions to the needs of diverse audiences, and the role of executive engagement in successful business transformation efforts.

As a systems architect, her work helps corporations design the infrastructure that drives business strategy, promotes employee development, and retains top talent around the world. Dr. Chambers’ leadership and talent development work spans multiple industries including utility, healthcare, and high-tech. In those roles, she developed strategic business plans to address three critical areas: the alignment of human capital management and business priorities; the design of equitable spaces for cross-functional collaboration; and the critical attributes of sustainable cultural transformation.

Dr. Chambers holds advanced degrees in Sociology, Curriculum Development, Systems Design, Leadership and Organizational Development. She is a certified project manager, credentialed educator, and professional advisor to the California State Board of Education, the Western Association of Colleges and Universities, and the US Department of Education. Dr. Chambers also serves as a Governing Board member for Junior Achievement of Northern California.

“The challenges of equity, inclusivity, and accessibility we face continue to evolve and persist in communities, classrooms, and boardrooms today. I’m excited by the opportunity to build on the current efforts in the City of Benicia to yield positive change, and wholeheartedly support the desire to sustain a vibrant, inclusive, and more equitable environment for Benicia employees, residents, and the local business community.”

City Council considers major program to recognize Benicia Black Lives Matter and address unconscious bias

Important Benicia City Council meeting Tues. August 25, 6pm – Please write or call in to show support!

By Roger Straw, August 24, 2020
Protesters hold up signs during a “Black Lives Matter” protest in front of Borough Hall on June 8, 2020 in New York City. Vanity Fair, by ANGELA WEISS/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Following the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and peaceful protests here in Benicia, a new local organization was formed, Benicia Black Lives Matter (BBLM).

When BBLM members contacted Benicia elected officials and city staff, including Police Chief Erik Upson, they were met with attentive openness, warmth and a willingness to take action.

BBLM offered a good list of recommendations, and shortly, a Staff Report and a City Resolution were drafted for consideration by the City Council this Tuesday.  The report, Recognition of Benicia Black Lives Matter and Consideration of Resolution to Take Actions to Address Unconscious Bias and the accompanying Resolution outline measures already taken, and call for significant changes, including these 3 major components and more.

  • Creation of a part-time Equity and Diversity Manager position (30 hours/week) at an estimated cost of $133,000 per year;
  • Conduct an “Equity Indicators in Benicia” report with consultant costs estimated at $75,000;
  • Mandate anti-bias training for all City employees and elected and appointed officials at an estimated cost of $8,000.

City Council members will consider whether to approve the resolution at its meeting today – Tuesday, August 25, 6pm on ZOOMThe discussion and vote is the ONLY item on Tuesday’s Agenda, so it will come up quickly.  The ZOOM access information follows below.

To show support by email, see BENICIA – WHERE TO WRITE

To attend the ZOOM meeting – here’s from the 8/25/20 Council Agenda:

How to Submit Public Comments for this videoconferencing meeting:

Members of the public may provide public comments to the City Clerk by email at lwolfe@ci.benicia.ca.us. Any comment submitted to the City Clerk should indicate to which item of the agenda the comment relates. Specific information follows:

– Comments received by 3:00 pm on the day of the meeting will be electronically forwarded to the City Council and posted on the City’s website.
– Comments received after 3:00 pm, but before the start time of the meeting will be electronically forwarded to the City Council, but will not be posted on the City’s website, and will not be read into the record.
– Comments received after the start time of the meeting, but prior to the close of the public comment period for an item will be read into the record, with a maximum allowance of 5 minutes per individual comment, subject to the Mayor’s discretion.

Additionally, the public may view and provide public comment via Zoom (via computer or phone) link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87202237323?pwd=Q2F2ZkUzbU1HMm5HYmNNU0kxNGZ2Zz09
• If prompted for a password, enter 454382.
• Use participant option to “raise hand” during the public comment period for the item you wish to speak on. Please note, your electronic device must have microphone capability. Once unmuted, you will have up to 5 minutes to speak.