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Carmel council to weigh $130K for diversity training for city employees

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The Carmel City Council next week will consider moving $130,000 in its 2021 budget to pay for diversity and inclusion training for all city employees.

City Council President Sue Finkam, a sponsor of the ordinance to reallocate the funds, said she believes the training is important enough that it shouldn’t wait until the next budget cycle. At the same time, she said the city didn’t originally put it in the 2021 budget because those coordinating the training wanted to make sure they had time to select a program that fits the city’s needs.

“I don’t want to just check a box. I want to make a difference in our organization and community,” Finkam said. “If it takes a little longer and it crosses budget years, so be it.”

If the reallocation is approved, unused funds in the city’s general fund will cover the cost of the training from Indianapolis-based Favorite Part of My Day, which provides diversity consultation and cultural competence and racial equity training.   

The three-step training program would be mandatory for all city employees, except for Carmel Police Dept. employees who have already completed similar training this year. The program would be recommended but not required for elected officials.

The program is set to include two introductory virtual sessions, an employee survey and a one-day in-person training session, an organizational audit and comprehensive plan to build diversity and inclusion into city policies and practices. Some funds will be set aside for training of specific groups, such as supervisors, if needed.

The training is expected to begin this spring, with the in-person sessions scheduled for the third quarter of the year, preferably at an off-site location, according to City of Carmel spokesperson Dan McFeely. The audit and comprehensive plan are expected to be complete by the end of the year.

“We plan to build on the program in subsequent years,” McFeely said.

Finkam said it’s crucial to continue offering diversity training beyond this year.

“This type of topic, along with safety and many other human resources topics, are things you have to touch on regularly to make sure they’re top of mind and no employees get missed in the training,” Finkam said.

The city council is set to discuss the ordinance at its April 19 meeting set for 6 p.m. at City Hall. Learn more about the program at favoritepartofmyday.com.


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