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Bello seeks to establish ‘overdue' county diversity department

Jul 14, 2020

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello announces plans Tuesday to create a Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Credit James Brown / WXXI News

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello has created the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, which is dedicated to creating more equity in Monroe County. 

The new department will be led by a chief diversity officer and will create at least four new positions. The new positions will review county contracts, policies, and strategies with a goal, Bello said, of combating all forms of bias. 

“The creation of the department comes at a pivotal time for our community,” said Bello. “I believe now more than ever that this is long overdue, and I remain committed to leading the way for equity for all.”

Bello is attempting to change the county’s charter to make the office a permanent part of county government.

“This is a department that’s now going to be created in county government that is going to be sustainable across administrations,” said Bello. “So it won’t matter if Adam Bello is going to be county executive four years from now or eight years from now. This is a department that will now exist in county government.”

One of the department's goals is to place a renewed focus on recruitment, placement, and promotion of minorities, women, veterans, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.

Vince Felder, minority leader of the County Legislature, hopes the department changes the trajectory of the county.

“What we’re doing is not just for show, it's not window dressing,” said Felder. “We are committed to making serious concrete changes to the way that Monroe County does business.” 

Bello said this new department will not cost the cash-strapped county government any more money; unfilled but fully funded jobs from across county government will be used for the roles. 

Before the department is established, the bill must make it through the legislative process, including a public hearing. Bello said that will likely take months.