The creation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion marks a major step for Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon
Former Onondaga County Legislator, Monica Williams is Onondaga County’s Chief Diversity Officer for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The position provides an office with staff empowered to tackle one of our areas most pressing issues, Inclusion. As part of its mission, “Onondaga County values a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace, where individual differences are respected and promoted.”
Onondaga County is focused on “initiating and adopting strategies to expand the applicant pool and open job opportunities for minorities, for those with disabilities, and respected veterans.” The department is an umbrella under which many programs and initiatives will originate. According to Ms. Williams, “our focus will be to create and sustain a County-wide culture that understands that diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to our mission and continued excellence.”
Regarding operating during the pandemic, “One of the things we have done. We have had two Zoom Meetings with our MWBE’s. Trying to create a One-Stop-Shop, we’re also making our website a little stronger. Where they can go to become a Certified MWBE, we’re not a certifying agency but we can give them direction.”
Why a Diversity Officer and why Ms. Williams?
Monica Williams is there to ensure that there are coordinated efforts as Chief Diversity Officer as directed by County Executive J. Ryan McMahon, creating an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with teeth. As a former member of the Onondaga County Legislature Williams has a position that is empowered by the legislature therefore, her selection makes sense. There must be a relationship with the Onondaga County Legislature for Opportunity Programs.
Williams continues, “We make sure that our goals are adhered to, 18% MBE, 12% WBE. If we find there are times when they aren’t, we have methods to withhold payment. We require a MWBE Participation Plan, we attend the pre-bid meetings; we let them know, we are going to monitor the project from start to finish.”
When asked for details, Ms. Williams was specific about her goals as she provided the following bullet points.
- Build relationships with diverse organizations through community outreach and engagement
- Update our Diversity training model and focus on strategic initiatives
- Develop metrics and accountability for recruiting and retaining minority workers, and strengthen Minority Women and Business Enterprise (MWBE) opportunities
- Increase awareness about the rights of people with limited English Language Proficiency
- Ensure accessibility of County facilities, programs and services for people with disabilities
- Continue to be an important resource to the public for information and assistance with human and civil rights matters, related compliance efforts, and intergroup communication
- Ensure that the Justice Center Oversight Committee handles complaints received in a timely fashion,
- and continues to generate recommendations to the Sheriff for consideration for the wellbeing of all staff, individuals housed in the facilities, as well as the community.
The creation of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion marks a major step for Onondaga County as more tangible steps are being taken to ensure opportunity for all, as said in their mission statement, “Onondaga County values a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace, where individual differences are respected and promoted. County government will be enhanced by initiating and adopting strategies to expand the applicant pool and open job opportunities for minorities, for those with disabilities, and respected veterans.”
Now, there’s an Onondaga County Office dedicated to making the promise of opportunity in Onondaga County a monitored, tangible reality.