Vermont League of Cities and Towns
Equity Committee Meeting
Monday, May 17, 2021
Members Present: Co-Chair Dom Cloud and Members Brian Carroll, Tyeastia Green, Ellen Kaye, Marguerite Ladd, Peter Lynch, Nathaniel Miller, Phoebe Townsend, Al Voegele, Elaine Wang, Yasamine Gordan, Joy Dubin Grossman, and Deborah Wright.
Others Present: VLCT staff Abigail Friedman, Karen Horn, Jessica Hill, and Trevor Whipple. VLCT Consultants Nikki Fuller and Dr. Wanda Heading-Grant.
All attended via Zoom.
Members Absent: Kerin Durfee and Rachel Edens.
Agenda Item #1: Call to order by the Chair. Chair Dom Cloud called the meeting to order at 1:10 p.m.
Agenda Item #2: Additions and deletions to the Agenda. No additions or deletions were made to the agenda.
Agenda Item #3: Approval of the April 19, 2021 Minutes. Marguerite Ladd motioned to approve and Tyeastia Green seconded. Minutes were approved unanimously.
Agenda Item #4: Introductions. Co-Chair Cloud facilitated introductions. Members introduced themselves. The committee welcomed two new members, Yasamine Gordon, Winooski’s Equity Director, and Joy Dubin Grossman, Hinesburg’s Assistant Town Manager.
Agenda Item #5: Intro Nikki Fuller of Workplace Matters / Overview of Workplan. Ted Brady provided an overview of the soon-to-be executed equity contract with Nikki Fuller of Workplace Matters (see attached powerpoint slides). Ted noted that Nikki Fuller and her associate Wanda Heading-Grant would be conducting a listening session with the equity committee at the next scheduled meeting – Monday, June 7th at 1 p.m. Ms. Fuller was expected to join the committee meeting towards the end of the meeting to introduce herself.
Agenda Item #6: Committee Name Discussion. Ted Brady explained that the Equity Committee was referred to by multiple names in board discussions, and he wanted to make sure the committee had a moment to purposefully discuss its name. He specifically asked if the committee should be referred to as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Members discussed the meaning of diversity and inclusion. Members discussed whether to focus of the committee was on racial equality and diversity or a larger concept of diversity. Several members suggested focusing on the name was not necessary. No action was taken.
Agenda Item #7: VLCT Town Fair. Ted Brady shared that the VLCT Town Fair would have a day of virtual programming committed to diversity, equity and inclusion training. This includes up to three separate 60-90 minute virtual sessions. He invited the equity committee to make recommendations. Members recommended the following content:
- A panel highlighting best practices from other Vermont towns, featuring diversity, equity, inclusion tools like Barre’s DEI assessment tool, inclusionary statements adopted by boards, etc.
- Time to “practice” talking about diversity, equity and inclusion issues
- Baseline training to educate members about DEI issues – a 101 for leaders
- Demonstrations on how to confront a Selectboard member or other leader who might speak inappropriately or insensitively about DEI issues at a public meeting
- A listening session with the consultant (or multiple listening sessions with the consultant)
- A learning opportunity featuring Harvard’s implicit bias survey (https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/education.html)
During the discussion about VLCT Town Fair, VLCT DEI consultants Nikki Fuller and Wanda Heading-Grant joined the meeting. Co-Chair Cloud invited them to introduce themselves. They participated in the VLCT Town Fair Discussion.
Ted Brady informed the committee that in addition to the VLCT Town Fair Training, VLCT members would be able to participate in the National League of Cities’ Race, Equity and Leadership (REAL) training series being offered to New England State Municipal Associations on Monday, June 21st, Monday, June 28th and during the week of July 12th. Equity Committee members were asked to attend all three trainings if possible. The Monday, June 21st training will take the place of the normally scheduled Equity Committee meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 2:19 p.m. when the virtual meeting ended due to a technical error by the Executive Director who was hosting the meeting.