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


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.”