Dubuque city council approves budget for civil rights specialist position

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) — The city approved the section of the budget to add a staff member that would be in charge of investigating discrimination claims in the community.

This position holder would be responsible for investigating claims of discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, education, and public accommodation. According to the city attorney’s office, this person would mostly be focusing attention on discrimination issues in the community, but would also be in charge of investigating claims made regarding the city government as well.

City Attorney, Crenna Brumwell brought it up to the council in February because she saw a benefit for the community and the city.

“We saw a need to get more information out to both public and our staff members about civil rights laws, awareness. Capacity, also we needed to build capacity because with roughly 20 cases pending right now its a lot to manage.”

When Brumwell first brought it up to the city attorney’s office, there were some concerns raised. Some council members were curious as to how this person would stay unbiased in their investigations toward the city government since they would be employed by it.

The City Attorney says because of the way the city is set up, there would be some separation between the new position holder and the rest of the city council.

“By putting it in the city attorney’s office it creates some autonomy because the way that the city of Dubuque is structured is that the city council hires three employees. They hire the city clerk , the city attorney and the city manager. All other employees are hired by and report to the city manager, this employee is going to report to me.”

The attorney’s office currently has about 20 pending discrimination cases, so Brumwell says this new position is needed

The city approved $78,815 for this new position. The budget would take affect fiscal year 2020 which begins in July.

Cori Hanna

Cori Hanna

Today in Iowa reporter
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