Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Regular Meeting Notes (same as Minutes) – Draft 7-5-17

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 3:30 PM

Scott Heyman Conference Room



Attendee Name




Leslyn McBean-Clairborne




Patricia Carey




Lisa Holmes



3:33 PM

Marcia Lynch




Larry Roberts




Karen Baer




Victor Jorrin




Christina Dravis




Todd VanOrman



3:45 PM

Anna Kelles

Vice Chair



Catherine Covert

Clerk of the Legislature



Michelle Rios-Dominguez

Human Resources Department



Amy Guererri

Commissioner of Human Resources



Joe Mareane

County Administrator



Paula Younger

Deputy County Administrator




Guests:  Attendance sheet circulated at meeting

Call to Order

              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne, Chair, called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.  She explained the role of the Committee and said it was formed as an advisory board that reports to the Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee of the Legislature.

Public Comment

Mrs. McBean-Clairborne invited any members of the public who wished to address the committee to do so and to self-monitor to keep their comment time to approximately 2-3 minutes


Several community members who attended the meeting spoke about the following issues:


-              Labor standards and implementing protections for LGBTQ+ community members that involve law enforcement officials using the safe space policy tool kit as provided by the Office of Human Rights.  Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she would consider adding it as a future agenda item for discussion.  

-              Opposition to requirement for having community members complete the blue sign-in form for Privilege of the Floor and identifying an individual by name and address.

Welcome, Introduction, and Announcements

              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne announced a new scholarship opportunity available that would assist a person of color interested in pursuing a counseling treatment degree at Tompkins Cortland Community College.  She commented that there are no counselors of color in the drug and alcohol treatment services area and it is hoped this program will help fulfill that need and if successful the program will continue to be offered.   


              Ms. Guererri announced the tentative date for the annual employee picnic is August 28th.  A flyer will be going out to employees soon.


              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne also announced July 3rd will be the fireworks and a number of other activities held at Stewart Park.

Minutes Approval

April 26, 2017


MOVER:              Christina Dravis, Member

SECONDER:              Patricia Carey, Member

AYES:              McBean-Clairborne, Carey, Holmes, Lynch, Jorrin, Dravis, VanOrman

EXCUSED:              Roberts, Baer, Kelles

Discussion Items

Indigenous People's Day

              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said last year a resolution was considered declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day in Tompkins County; however, following discussions a proclamation was done in honor of this.  She said she would like the Committee to again discuss at the next meeting a resolution to propose to the Legislature for adoption declaring the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day.  She said the Ithaca City School District and other municipalities have passed similar actions.  In addition, she would like to propose, as the County celebrates its 200th anniversary, giving back a piece of County-owned land to the Native American community.  She said she would raise this at the next Bicentennial Commission meeting.


              She spoke of the research she has done and how the Town of Ithaca changed the name of a park to Tutelo Park and how it is used for the Native American festivals. 


              Ms. Carey suggested members of the group attend the meeting to speak about some of the history.

Living Wage

              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said Tompkins County government is a living wage employer.  The County also took the action of asking contractors that do business with the County to pay a living wage and believes most of them do.  The County has been struggling with agencies, more specifically non-profit agencies, that receive some County funds, but a majority of their funding coming from the State to pay a living wage as the State only reimburses a certain amount. 


              She wanted to inform the Committee that there is a movement in Tompkins County to ask the State for home rule legislation to make minimum wage a living wage. The living wage numbers are changed every two years following studies done by the Alternatives Federal Credit Union.   


              She said she is bringing this issue forward to alert the Committee that it is happening and to hopefully receive support as she would like this Committee to propose legislation that would be submitted to the Budget, Capital, and Personnel Committee for consideration.


              Ms. Carey said the Medicaid payment and issue has come up across the State because of the ability for people to provide home care is disappearing because of the wages.  Social Services Commissioners have approached the Department of Health that something different needs to be done.  The response was there is no guarantee that if the reimbursement rate was increased the funding would flow to the Home Care Aides.  She questioned if in the home rule legislation the agencies could be held responsible. 


              Ms. Holmes said she had the same thoughts and spoke of a public hearing she recently attended where a speaker said since Medicaid Managed Care went into effect, the Aide problem has much improved; however, following that comment and the speaker leaving the hearing, the many agencies and aides present were saying just the opposite.  


              Further discussion followed concerning the home rule process and whether waivers could be made for Home Care Aides. 


              Mr. Myers, Tompkins County Worker’s Center, said Alternatives Federal Credit Union the living wage study will be completed in a couple of weeks.  He spoke of lobbying efforts at the State level and hopes that some of the promises the Governor made during the last campaign will be fulfilled such as with the working families.


              Mr. Mareane said it is important when discussing this issue that how it effects non-profit agencies be discussed.  Some agencies cannot pay the living wage.  One question that needs to be answered would be is the State willing to higher Medicaid reimbursement rates if by home rule in Tompkins County a living wage is approved because without that it would put the non-profit agencies in a difficult position.  He also reminded the Committee of the national discussion taking place about Medicaid and how that could affect many things over the next few years. 


              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she would like to discuss this issue further and asked if the Committee would agree with her meeting with the County Administrator to discuss how the County could approach this.  The Committee agreed with this direction.


              Ms. Holmes said there is a State-wide coalition that has formed about the home care crisis and Tompkins County is part of that.  She would like to see how the Coalition approaches this issue and will try to get information.


              Ms. Carey said she would also reach out to her association to see if there is any information available. 

Climate Survey - small working groups

              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne said she and Committee member Anna Kelles with Deputy County Administrator Paula Younger met to discuss the framework for the planning of the 2018 Workplace Climate Survey.  Copies of the project management and implementation working draft document was distributed.  Committee members were asked to consider serving on two teams:  Survey Review Team and Education and Outreach Team. 


              At this time, Ms. Younger provided a brief overview and said she has touched base with the previous contractor, Kaleidoscope.  They have expressed interest in helping and Ms. Younger said she requested the firm put together a proposal with various options to consider. 


              Following a brief discussion, Ms. Rios-Dominguez and Ms. Lynch agreed to act as co-chairs of the Education and Outreach Team and Ms. Holmes agreed to serve on the Survey Review Team. 

Training Report

              Ms. Younger briefly reported that the LGBTQ+ training is moving forward and working with Gay Alliance out of Rochester.  She explained there will be two hour sessions offered to all County staff and a three-hour session with an emphasis on workplace practices and policies will be offered to department heads and managers.  Some agency executive directors may also be given an opportunity for these sessions.  There are a total 600 seats available for the training.  A draft scope of work was prepared and submitted to the firm. 


              Ms. Carey commented that the Department of Social Services (DSS) might be able to use State monies to fund some of this training for DSS staff.

Exit Interviews - Follow-up

              Ms. Rios-Dominguez provided a PowerPoint presentation concerning a Proposal for Tompkins County Exit Process being recommended by the Human Resources Department.  The presentation included an overview of an off-boarding process and the purpose of an exit process.   It is being recommended that it begin with employee-initiated separations and not include involuntary resignations.  Draft documents and information were distributed for members to review and comment on. 


              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne requested this topic be discussed further at the next meeting.

Diversity and Inclusion reports by Departments - Follow-up

              This topic will be discussed at the next meeting.

Other Business

              Mrs. McBean-Clairborne announced Karen Baer has resigned as a member of the Committee; members expressed their appreciation and thanks to Ms. Baer for her participation.


              Ms. Younger reported the ADA Transition Plan should be ready next month and asked that it be included on the agenda.  Alan Locket of Facilities will be present.


              The meeting adjourned at 5:07 p.m.