The village of Franklin started a diversity and inclusion committee in part at the request of the current chairman David Sahli.
While this sounds like a great idea, unfortunately this seemed to be setup simply for political purposes to provide certain people additional exposure to help in future elections. This was made clear as issues were identified with some of the members and little to no action was taken to address them.
When these issues were raised to the President Pam Hansen she responded only to the THIRD request for feedback and the response was completely inadequate. Basically the issue was discussed but that was the extent of it.
Members with Diversity Issues
Michael Seltzer initially joined the committee to provide himself with some good publicity. A concerned resident found Mr. Seltzer’s @TheCalendarboy twitter feed full of racially insensitive and intolerant comments and thankfully they got some screenshots of it so people could see it before he was warned to delete it.
David Sahli was made aware of these abhorrent tweets, and instead of addressing this issue and working to have this member removed from the committee he told Michael Seltzer to delete the tweets and let the issue be swept under the rug.
I never thought someone would admit to such a thing but you can see this admission in the following video where he tries to justify this as the right action. He literally says that by Michael listening and taking down these tweets it was a “representation of leadership”.
Simply hiding racism is how things were done in the past to avoid the uncomfortableness that exposing it has and is not acceptable today. Racism and intolerance needs to be addressed and exposed if we are to ever to overcome it, and people clearly expressing these types of views should be prohibited from being a member of any D&I committee.
Connie Ettinger is a comedian who has a routine so vile that I couldn’t even watch two minutes of it. Anyone who thinks making fun of handicapped people is comedy certainly does not belong on a diversity and inclusion committee.
Where does this Committee go Now?
Thankfully now that the election is over Connie Ettinger and Michael Seltzer are no longer members of the committee. David Sahli remains and is the chairman of this committee.
The committee is still active but producing little to no results. In fact over 6 months in and they have yet to define any goals or even develop a mission statement.
Why have a committee that has no goals, no purpose, and does nothing besides work on the following for over 6 months.
- governance (why is this a priority)
- analyzing the demographics of the community
- communication and outreach
I think this committee needs a chair that cares more about making progress than politicizing issues, one that can define the goals and a purpose, so the committee has a chance of doing something useful.
It looks like the public awareness this page has brought about the lack of results this committee has produced, is actually improving the effectiveness of this committee.
Accountability and pressure from the public is starting to make this committee into what it should have been and this is a good thing for the village.
- The last June 1st meeting was listed on the Village website, but no agenda was posted and no Zoom/dial in details were provided to allow the public to join. This is highly unprofessional and should be easy to resolve in the future. The agenda and dial in details should be available at least 1 week prior to the meeting. Recently agendas for all meeting have been added which is a great step forward.
- Meeting Minutes approval should be a standard agenda item and the previous meeting minutes should be approved at every meeting, or approved based on specific corrections.
- Now let’s define some goals and work on achieving them!
- Let’s follow the lead of Google and address known issues with committee members and leaders. I believe we have some good people on the committee that can step up and fill these positions to allow us to have a solid committee that can lead our village into the future.
- David Sahli should be removed as committee chair for ignoring intolerant tweets from a previous committee member, working with him to hide them and then praising him as a good leader for hiding them.
- Pam Hansen should be removed as a committee member for her role actively avoiding addressing known issues of intolerant tweets from a committee member. Requiring the issue to be addressed 4 times before responding. Once in a council meeting and in three emails.
We deserve a leaders and committee members that are more concerned with diversity equity and inclusion than they are with politics.