This position will be open until filled and may close without notice. An initial review of candidates will begin on November 15, 2022.
The Chief Equity & Human Rights Officer, reporting directly to an Assistant County Manager, is responsible for implementation of Buncombe County's goals to integrate equity in every fiber of its organization through practical and impactful policies, procedures, programs, and services. The Chief Equity & Human Rights Officer will lead the County's Equity & Inclusion Workgroup, provide support and consultation to departments/offices and propel the Countywide strategy for advancing equity and inclusion into organizational culture and service delivery. This position will also serve as a key liaison to the community and for community equity and human rights efforts including the implementation of the County Racial Equity Action Plan and administration of the Non-Discrimination Ordinance.
Lead the development and monitoring of the County Racial Equity Action Plan implementation roadmap;
Lead the administration and monitoring of the County Non-Discrimination Ordinance;
Lead the development of the Countywide equity training curriculum including results-based accountability; and
Lead, along with the Communications & Public Engagement Department, the development of a robust community engagement plan to inform the County's equity strategies.
The ideal candidate will be a visionary, supportive, and inspirational leader and will be able to build trust with diverse communities and stakeholders. A successful candidate will understand relevant local, state, and federal laws and how to work within them. The Chief Equity & Human Rights Officer will be a champion for equity and will collaborate with other County departments to enact significant and systemic change.
Purpose of the position:
The primary purpose of this position is to lead the development, implementation, monitoring, and improvement of local government policies, programs, and initiatives that promote anti-discrimination, anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in the County.
Essential Functions of the position:
Lead and coordinate the County Equity and Inclusion Workgroup, various related taskforces/committees, established county affinity groups and county staff liaison to the Human Relations Commission of Asheville. Assist Commission, workgroups, committees and taskforces in carrying out policy directives and mission. Advance and direct the County’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion of anti-discrimination laws in public accommodation, City programs and services.
Manage the development and implementation of departmental goals, objectives, policies and priorities. Lead the development, coordination and implementation of diversity, equity and inclusion tools, programs, efforts and initiatives; and, in collaboration with the County Manager’s Office and Departments, collect, analyze and present data measuring the County’s progress on incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and initiatives.
Manage the receive, review and investigate complaints under the County’s non-discrimination ordinance, Title VI and ADA investigations conducted under contracts with the US Equal Opportunity Commission, and local and state laws.
Develop human and civil rights discrimination educational programming and outreach for Buncombe County.
Lead development, implementation and updates of Buncombe County’s Racial Equity Action Plan.
Establish county-wide performance indicators and progress benchmarks to ensure accountability towards equitable delivery of county services.
Facilitate communication, coordination, and collaboration with county departments, employees, community members, and other stakeholders to make meaningful movement toward a more equitable county.
Ensure policies, procedures, budget decisions, program design and other county functions are evaluated using an equity perspective as part of the decision-making process.
Facilitate collaboration of interdepartmental/agency task forces, teams, and working groups; build effective partnerships with external organizations, both public and private, to support and achieve broad community DEI efforts.
Facilitate and support County training on diversity, equity and inclusion in collaboration with the other County Departments.
Engage with community and/or interest/stakeholder groups (e.g., neighborhood organizations, environmental advocates).
Performs other related duties as assigned.
Minimum Education, Training and/or Experience:
Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology, Public Administration, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, or a related field and a minimum of five (5) years of demonstrated successful and progressively responsible experience in program management and leadership in the administration of community, education, and/or social justice programs which have a sustained focus on the implementation of diversity and equity programming; or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
Additional Training and Experience:
Juris Doctorate or Master’s Degree in Sociology, Public Administration, Cultural Anthropology, Ethnic Studies, or a related field preferred;
Experience maintaining and building relationships with community members and organizations and being trusted to be a local leader of equity
Experience working in a fast-paced, high profile and forward-thinking environment, which is supported by respect, integrity, collaboration, honesty and equity.
Experience in the field of diversity, equity and inclusion, working professionally in the government, business, consulting, nonprofit, and/or academic sectors preferred.
License or Certification Required by Statute or Regulation: Certificate or DEI credential preferred
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:
Knowledge of principles and best practices of diversity, equity and inclusion in both workplace and community settings; processes and procedures associated with development and implementation of equity programs; principles and best practices of change management; and best practices for community engagement and training.
Understand the local context regarding race, gender, and economic disparities and inequities.
Knowledge of Critical race theory (a framework in the social sciences focused upon the application of critical theory, a critical examination of society and culture, to the intersection of race, law and power.)
Knowledge of employment, public accommodations, education human rights laws.
Knowledge of Federal Civil Rights laws, and North Carolina Human Rights laws, County and local Human Rights Ordinances and policy.
Knowledge of strategic approaches flowing from critical race theory into change mobilization using tools such as racial equity impact analysis processes ("equity toolkits") and stakeholder inclusion to identify and make changes that reduce barriers to access and increase equity in government/institutional structures.
Knowledge of techniques for introducing and facilitating exploration of these concepts with new audiences in order to cultivate the critical mass needed to move racial equity forward.
Skill in strategic and critical thinking; problem solving; Conflict resolution and mediation.
Ability to manage and direct a comprehensive diversity and inclusion program; develop and administer departmental goals, objectives and procedures.
Ability to work across department lines and form partnerships that foster better citizen services, eliminate barriers to achieving results, build alliances with key decision makers, and take full advantage of available resources.
Ability to analyze and assess programs, policies and operational needs and make appropriate adjustments. Ability to develop performance measurement systems and initiate continuous improvement processes
Knowledge of public administration and public policy development, including government financing mechanisms and intergovernmental relations. Ability to effectively analyze and develop programs, policies, and initiatives.
Proficient in Microsoft Office with an emphasis in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
In order to uphold internal pay parity and equity, salaries are non-negotiable for new and current Buncombe County employees. All new employees are paid according to their years of relevant education and experience above minimum requirements for the position and employees have the opportunity to obtain pay increases via cost of living increases and promotions.
Buncombe County Government realizes the importance of a diverse professional workforce and the need to foster a responsive and innovative organizational culture, one that fully engages all of our employees, honoring and building on each employee's unique experiences, opinions, and perspective.
It is the policy of Buncombe County to provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, age, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other legally protected class under federal or NC State law. In addition, Buncombe County expressly prohibits any form of workplace harassment or discrimination.
Applicants for employment are invited to participate in the affirmative action program by reporting their status as a protected veteran or other minority. In extending this invitation, we advise you that: (a) workers (applicants) are under no obligation to respond but may do so in the future if they choose; (b) responses will remain confidential within the human resource department; and (c) responses will be used only for the necessary information to include in our affirmative action program. We are a company that values diversity. We actively encourage women, minorities, veterans and disabled employees to apply. Refusal to provide this information will have no bearing on your application and will not subject you to any adverse treatment.
Across 660 square miles, Buncombe County is a diverse patchwork of businesses and people. What brings us together is our belief that what we do matters and together we can shape a community where every person lives up to their potential. We believe we serve our community best with a diverse workforce who represent the best in their professions. We hope you will consider joining us!