The Town of Leesburg's Diversity Task Force, created Dec. 10 after issues arose about the lack of minority employees and applicants in the town, now has members.
The Leesburg Town Council voted Feb. 26 to appoint nine members to the 10 member committee, with council member Kelly Burk serving the 11th member as a Town Council representative to the squad.
Last fall, a town evaluation concluded that whites disproportionately make up town staff positions. Of the 326 town employees, just 33 identify as minorities, despite 30 percent of the town identifying as minority. What's more, in 2013, of the 700 applications received for town employment, just 182 came from minority applicants. Together, those two factors prompted action from the town.
Every Town Council member was allowed to appoint one member; in addition, Inova Health Systems, the Loudoun NAACP chapter and La Voz, a local Hispanic advocacy group, all were given one appointee.
Mayor Kristen Umstattd nominated Mary Randolph, a co-founder of the Loudoun Douglass Alumni association and 12-year member of the Loudoun NAACP, for her selection. Also nominated from the Town Council were Greg Hudson, Gladys Burk, Linda McCray, Michelle Vocke and Tammy Carter.
Inova selected Rod Williams, while the NAACP selected Mildred Daye. La Voz submitted Maritza Saldana, treasurer of the organization, as it's nominee.
Vice-mayor Dave Butler did not submit a nominee, telling council that he is trying to find a volunteer from the Asian community to serve, as they are not currently represented on the task force.
“When we created this committee, the intent was to try and have it somewhat match the diversity of the Town,” Butler explained. “The Asian community in Loudoun is the largest minority there is, so I think it's important to have at least one Asian on the committee.”
Ultimately, the council voted 7-0 to approve all of the appointments.
"I really appreciate the fact that people are willing to come forward and donate their time to look at the diversity issue in hiring and how we can have a better outreach to the minority community,” Burk said after motioning to approve the nominees. “The people we've selected I think will do a great job.”