GARE Blog

GARE Work Group Agenda and Notes - 8/22/2019
Human Resources Department

08/22/2019

1:00PM- 2:00PM

I. Introductions

II. How do you envision an ideal Human Resources Department?

III. What is the purpose of a Human Resources Department?

IV. What are the core processes, policies and structures we need to ensure that we are genuine to that purpose.

V. GARE Blog

VI. Next Steps​​The 1st GARE HR Meeting commenced on 8/22.  Those present included representatives from the Human Resources Department, the Diversity Office , members from GARE Community Group and Health Department staff.   Meeting members shared what they envisioned  to be the  ideal Human Resources Department.  There was also discussion regarding the purpose of the HR Department.  Please see below for the ideas generated in the meeting.  The next meeting will examine each of the ideas generated and to develop operational definitions that can be used develop assessment metrics. These metrics will be used to help determine the strengths and areas of needed growth within the HR Department.   Next meeting to be determined.    ​
​We are looking for additional members to join the work group; we welcome everyone and we do hope that individuals of color would consider participating in the GARE process.  Please note that GARE, Government Alliance for Racial Equity, mission is to examine structures, service/programs, policies and procedures, to determine and to correct structural racism.  To accomplish this mission it is important that people of color participate in the process.  If you are interested please contact BrooklineGARE at BrooklineGARE@gmail.com ​​GARE Workgroup –

Human Resources Department 

8/22/19

1:00-2:00 PM

Community Members Present: Anne Greenwald, Debbie Katz,

Town Employees Present: Caitlin Starr, Lloyd Gellineau, Ann Braga, Darlene Johnson, Dai Nguyen​​ 

 1) How do you envision an ideal Human Resources Department? ​

• Supportive of current employees; adequate and accessible information distribution​

• Acknowledge strength and weaknesses​

• Accessible • Completes performance reviews of Department Heads and manager positions ​• Innovative and inclusive hiring practices ​• Increase applicant pool • Focus on promotion and retention ​• Continued education and professional building opportunities ​• Clear and equitable policies and procedures to reflect generational and systemic changes ​• Increase in community work​ • Consistent education on Diversity and Inclusion ​​ 

 2) What is the purpose of a Human Resources Department? ​

• Hiring and onboarding new employees

• Benefit procurement and distribution

​• Work with payroll • Recruit/outreach for open positions • Develop and manage employee policies ​• Support employee opportunity and growth • Hold Department’s accountable ​ • Provide mechanisms to address violations • Provide team building opportunities ​​

HR GARE Meeting Notes - 9/16/2019


​Present:  Ann Hess Braga, Steve Vogel, Darlene Johnson, Dai Nguyen. Lloyd Gellineau​​

Human Resources Director articulated key HR functions that were not identified at our last meeting they include the following:

​• Strategic business partner w/policies across departments and business practices to recruit and retain employees ​

• Piloting, testing new programs

• Creating, enforcing inclusive workforce (a culture of inclusion)​

• Creating a mentoring program/employee development through knowledge transfer  Career, personal development through mentoring

 Learning particular job skills through coaching​  Creating an affinity group ​​It was noted that the HR Mission Statement, the GARE Group’s vision of an ideal HR Department, and the articulated function (functions as described in the Town’s by-law) of the Department were very much inline. ​ Rather than attempting to operationalize all the focus areas expressed at the last meeting it was decided that one of them would be selected for further race equity analysis. Other areas will be review at later meetings. ​ ​The three focus areas that will be prioritized are: ​Clear and equitable policies and procedures to reflect generational and systemic change ​Performance reviews for staff and management ​Increasing the applicant pool ​ ​Clear and equitable policies and procedures to reflect generational and systemic change was selected as the priority for the analysis ​​To start with this area, the group needs access to all the HR policies and procedures (P and P). It was note that these documents are accessible on the Town’s website on the HR Department’s page. The Human Resource Director noted that not all of the (P and P) are on the webpage. HR will provide a comprehensive list for our next meeting. Participants will review policies on Town’s Human Resources website for next meeting.​​ Below are the areas that the GARE group expects to be covered in the HR P and P:​  Conflict in the workplace ​  Hiring practices (inclusive, innovative)  ​ Promotions  ​Preventing subtle discrimination in hiring practices ​ Boards and commissions application process ​Amending policies to promote a respectful workplace culture ​Policy of performance review  ​Managers and department heads (based on structure of departments)​ EEO ​Antidiscrimination ​Sexual harassment o Alcohol & drug, marijuana ​ Dress code ​ Town employee identification system o Relationship policy  ​Conflict of interest/ethics policy ​Nepotism​ Pay equity ​​Next meeting : Identify first policy for review ​ Articulate Goal: Target Date to Complete Goal:​ Articulate Output/Objective: ​ Articulate Expected Outcome/Long-term effect: ​ Metric used to assess Outcome ​ Start analysis of Policy ​


​GARE Workgroup – Human Resources Department 10/30/19
1:00-2:30 PM

Community Members Present: Joan Lancourt, Kelly Race

Town Employees Present: Caitlin Starr, Lloyd Gellineau, Darlene Johnson, Dai Nguyen, Claudia Leon, Ewana Lindo-Smith

The meeting began with suggesting language changes in the document to make it more consistent with the EEO policy language and the addition of more affirmative language that would mirror the Town’s commitment to a safe working environment. The group decided to curtail the word crafting until later and instead focus on assessing the functionality of the policy. The group reviewed the policy to seek answers to the questions provided below.

1) Identify first policy to review

a. Policy Against Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation

2) Started analysis of policy

a. What is the purpose of the policy?

    i. to tell employees their rights

   ii. what discrimination is and what behaviors may be associated with it (unacceptable behaviors)

   iii. how to report discrimination

   iv. the discipline associated with these complaints

   v. how the town protects themselves and employees

b. Does the policy actually address its purpose?

   i. the skeleton is there

   ii. language needs to be addressed

   iii. there is no clear understanding of disciplinary actions

c. How is the policy made known to the workforce?

   i. mailed annually – NOT ENOUGH!

   ii. no accountability to read the policies annually

   iii. no trainings or discussions for supervisors or employees to ensure this policy is read/understood

   iv. onboarding would be a good opportunity

d. How is the policy enforced?

   i. complaint based only

   ii. follow through with investigations doesn’t seem to be enforced either

   iii. supervisors not formally trained on handling discrimination complaints

e. What are the consequences for not following the policy

   i. not clear in current policy

   ii. zero tolerance is stated, but then example of a verbal warning; “zero tolerance” should be excluded

   iii. consequence and follow up very unclear and conflicting; needs to be spelled out

   iv. affects Town reputation; perpetuates distrust

f. Is there unintended consequences created by policy implementation?

   i. not reporting

   ii. not knowing what is the Town’s responsibility

   iii. Lack of confidence that the Town is committed to the safety of its employees

g. Does the policy or implementation of policy create or maintain racial inequities?

   i. the potential is there

   ii. policy leaves open the opportunity for different outcomes regarding disciplinary actions for similar policy infractions.

h. What are the policy points that need to change to make it more equitable?

   i. Independent/neutral way to investigate; 3rd party mediator

   ii. Include training and enforcement

   iii. Make policy available in each Department in plain sight. This will help people know what to do, but could also be a           deterrent and proactive way to address the Town’s commitment to taking discrimination seriously.

   iv. Change the culture to make the policy be more than a piece of paper

   v. Outline the Town’s responsibilities clearly.

   vi. Inclusion of supportive measures for those that are subjected to and witnesses of discriminatory behavior.

3) Next meeting TBD

We are looking for additional members to join the work group; we welcome everyone and we do hope that individuals of color would consider participating in the GARE process. Please note that GARE, Government Alliance for Racial Equity, mission is to examine structures, service/programs, policies and procedures, to determine and to correct structural racism. To accomplish this mission it is important that people of color participate in the process. If you are interested please contact BrooklineGARE at BrooklineGARE@gmail.com


GARE Workgroup – Human Resources Department
11/20/19

1:00-2:30 PM

Community Members Present: Joan Lancourt, Kelly Race, Steve Vogel, Debbie Katz

Town Employees Present: Caitlin Starr, Darlene Johnson, Claudia Leon, Ewana Lindo-Smith, Ann Braga

The meeting began with Ann sharing several documents she brought for review:

- Discussing Harassment Free Workplace with your Staff

- Boston’s Executive Order “Valuing Diversity and Equality Statement

- Guidelines for Managers Addressing, Preventing, and Stopping Harassment, Discrimination, Retaliation and Inappropriate Conduct.

Ann also discussed with the group that she would like to have more Supervisor trainings in general that would highlight and give tools for a framework of success.

      Policy: Policy Against Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation

      1. The group reviewed notes on the policy assessment from last meeting

           a. Discussed the importance of implementation and disciplinary actions not maintaining racial inequities.

           b. Reminded to keep in mind systemic inequities as we edit and review the policy.

      2. Reviewed and edited the Policy Statement

          a. Discussion around including contractors and vendors

          b. Discussed the notion of “Zero tolerance” and what we really mean. Re-worded.

     3. Reviewed and edited Policy Purpose

          a. Suggestions:

             i. (add) “to inform supervisors of their responsibility in preventing and reporting discrimination, harassment, and                              retaliation and the consequence for failure to do so” – group agreed to add this

             ii. (add) “to provide information/education to the Brookline Community” – group discussed this and did not necessarily                    think it was a “purpose” of the policy; decided not to include at this time.

            iii. (edit purpose #1) focus on positive; change to “in an inclusive environment free from discrimination…”

    4. Discussed effective strategies to ensure Town staff receive and understand the Anti-Discrimination Policy

        a. Create a “Supervisor’s Responsibilities” as a companion to the policy

        b. Effective training

        c. Accountability of supervisor to check that policy is reviewed annually by employees.

        d. Policy available in plain sight in all Dept. Offices.

        e. An online module training?

   5. Other

      a. Caitlin will create an editable document to share with the group with edits made at this meeting and for moving forward             with edits at the next meetings.

      b. Discussed agenda for next meeting. Group would like to identify outcomes and a goal dates for the process.

  6. Next Meeting TBD

 GARE Workgroup – Human Resources Department
12/17/19

1:00-2:30 PM

Community Members Present: Joan Lancourt, Steve Vogel, Debbie Katz

Town Employees Present: Lloyd Gellineau, Caitlin Starr, Darlene Johnson, Claudia Leon, Ewana Lindo-Smith, Dai Nguyen

I. Establish deadline to compete analysis and review of Anti-Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy.

     a. Group agreed to commit to review the rest of the policy before our next meeting and come prepared with suggestions of           edits, and opinions of potential solutions.

     b. Lloyd will share GARE link with group so that members can review GARE tool while going through the policy.

     c. Group decided we will aim to have this policy completed by the end of February 2020.

     d. We will begin to review the assessment tool for workplace climate at the next meeting.

II. Determine strategy to efficiently review HR policies to determine deadlines for completion

     a. Moving forward - all members look at HR policies and prioritize 5 or 10?

     b. Has Ann identified policies?

      c. Group discussed prioritizing work environment and practices/policies around recruiting and hiring.

      d. Group decided next step would be Assessment of Workplace Climate (survey)

            i. Review findings and focus in editing or creating policies based on these findings.

            ii. Would need buy in from HR and unions.

           iii. Once policies are identified, group will read policy and come to meetings with suggested changes, etc.

III. Continued review of the ADSHR Policy

     a. Reviewed and finished Prohibited Discrimination Section

     b. Began review of Prohibited Sexual Harassment Section

IV. Next Meeting TBD


GARE Workgroup – Human Resources Department
1/30/2020

1:00-2:30 PM

Community Members Present: Joan Lancourt, Debbie Katz, Ann Greenwald

Town Employees Present: Caitlin Starr, Lloyd Gellineau, Ann Braga, Jenn Stallion, Dai Nguyen

Review of Policy Against Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation

1. Discussion of process for completing this review and the review of all other policies.

   a. Policy will be announced, shared and reviewed.

   b. Committee will break the policy into sections and members will focus on one specific section/area to being back                          suggestions to the group.

2. Made edits to current policy

    a. Completed Sexual Harassment

   b. Completed Prohibited Retaliation

   c. Completed Other Prohibited Action

   d. Rest of policy was broken up:

        i. Caitlin - Reasonable Accommodations

       ii. Joan - Requirements for Supervisors

      iii. Ann G and Lloyd - Filing a Complaint

      iv. Caitlin, Lloyd, Debbie - Investigation Process

      v. Joan and Dai - Corrective Action

      vi. Complaint Form - Dai and Claudia

   e. Discussed addressing discrimination based on appearance (not in a protected class). After much discussion of wanting to

       include in the language somewhere, we suggested it in the Policy Statement.

   f. Caitlin will send updated document with edits to group.

GARE Survey Tool

1. Reviewed Employee Equity Survey

    a. Discussion on length – is it too long; should we shorten? If we shorten will we actually get the information we want?

    b. What are the key pieces we want to know?

    c. Discussed setting up a conference call with GARE to discuss indicator questions.

    d. Discussed using the survey as a way to get a baseline on the knowledge/understanding/dedication of our                                  depts./employees on policies, employment, work climate, D&I objectives.

    e. Provide the survey with context, make sure there is buy in.

2. For the next meeting, each person should come with 15 questions from the survey they believe are crucial, as well as come with questions for GARE and we will set up a conference call.

Next Meetings:

Thursday Feb 27 at 1pm

Thursday March 26 at 1pm

Thursday April 30 at 1pm

GARE Workgroup – Human Resources Department

2/27/2020

Community Members Present: Joan Lancourt, Debbie Katz, Ann Greenwald

Town Employees Present: Caitlin Starr, Lloyd Gellineau, Jenn Stallion, Claudia Leon

Continue Review of Policy Against Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Retaliation

    1. Reasonable Accommodations - Caitlin shared her edits for the section and all agreed.

    2. Requirements for Supervisor – Joan shared her opinions and edits. Group discussed requiring supervisors to be trained on policy; edits          discussed and made.

        a. “to participate in a training and demonstrate competency on this policy.”

    3. Filing a Complaint – Ann and Lloyd

        a. Conversation around what happens if Town does not follow through on a complaint?

        b. Disciplinary action included here?

        c. How do we achieve a checks and balance?

        d. HR does have a process of logging all complaints.

        e. There is a provision for appeal: maybe here is where we add outside eyes? But this still puts the onus on the person to appeal.

              i. After much discussion it was decided that this third party eye does not currently exist so we cannot add it to a policy, but this                           group could make a recommendation based on this GARE process with the HR Department.

   4. Next Meeting we will complete the Investigation section, Corrective Action and the Form.

   5. Caitlin will make all edits to the document before the next meeting.

GARE Racial Equity Employee Survey

    1. Reviewed GARE Video

       a. Purpose of survey – opportunity to assess departments and where employees are on the concepts of racial equity.

       b. All staff, every 2 years (need to consider outreach).

       c. Timeline for survey and administration needs to be thought about

       d. Strive for a 50% participation rate

       e. Provide incentives, competition and raffles

       f. Short vs. long version of survey

         i. Foundational vs. supplemental questions (there is flexibility). Can also add jurisdiction specific questions.

         ii. Employee experiences and perspectives

         iii. Perceptions about the Department

        iv. Impact in the community

        v. Employee info (demographic)

     g. Lloyd will share short survey and video with group.

Next Meetings: Thursday March 26 at 1pm and Thursday April 30 at 1pm

We are looking for additional members to join the work group; we welcome everyone and we do hope that individuals of color would consider participating in the GARE process. Please note that GARE, Government Alliance for Racial Equity, mission is to examine structures, service/programs, policies and procedures, to determine and to correct structural racism. To accomplish this mission it is important that people of color participate in the process. If you are interested please contact BrooklineGARE at BrooklineGARE@gmail.com