The office finds itself without any permanent staff and has no public process for hiring new employees. The vacancies come after a wave of resignations, as well as public criticism from former employees and elected leaders about a lack of support and accountability for equity work.
Kimberlee Archie, the city’s first equity and inclusion manager, and Libby Kyles, CEO of the YWCA of Asheville, have left high-profile jobs with a mission of improving racial equity in the city within a month of each other.
As of late January, Equity and Inclusion Manager Kimberlee Archie’s office is fully staffed. Its four employees are together charged with advancing equity, which the city defines as “just and fair inclusion into a society in which all can participate, prosper and reach their full potential,” and promoting inclusion, defined as “authentic and empowered participation with a true sense of belonging.”
Asheville has gotten whiter over the past two decades. The proportion of African-American residents in the city dropped from 17.6 percent in 2000 to 12.3 percent in 2016, a change city officials attribute to a combination of white influx and black exodus. For the people of color who remained in Asheville, 2018 proved a mixed bag.
Change proved the only constant among staff members in Asheville city government during 2018. Firings, resignations, reassignments and new hires left the city’s bureaucracy radically changed from its makeup at the start of the year.
As laid out by a special Council-appointed Blue Ribbon Committee, the HRCA will serve as a bridge between the community and city leadership, as well as recommend policies for Council to adopt. The group will meet on the third Thursday of every month at a location yet to be determined.
Established based on recommendations from a special Council-appointed Blue Ribbon Committee, the new group will be charged with improving human relations and equity throughout Asheville’s government — including the Asheville Police Department, which has drawn fierce criticism in recent months from Council and the public over its response to the beating of a black Asheville resident by a white former APD officer last year.
For now, the work sessions and haggling are over. Interim City Manager Cathy Ball will present the city’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018-19 to Asheville City Council and the public at Council’s regular meeting in Council Chambers at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15. The document reflects Council’s consensus on issues such as parking […]
Kimberlee Archie came on board city staff as Asheville’s first equity and inclusion manager last July. In honor of Martin Luther King Day, Xpress asked Archie to share her thoughts on King’s legacy and how it applies to the continuing effort to create equity in Asheville.
Two finalists for the newly created Equity and Inclusion Manager position with the city of Asheville mingled with community members at a meet-and-greet on July 10. Kimberlee Archie and Alaysia Black Hackett shared their backgrounds, their visions of how the position can serve the city and some of the issues they see as most pressing for the new role.