Mayor's Diversity Statement

The City of Bremerton values the principles that encourage inclusion, tolerance and respect for all. Any effort that endorses hate has no place in Bremerton.

My focus is to honor diversity and different perspectives in our City while encouraging a culture that is safe, welcoming and respectful of all residents. 

I am dedicated to promoting those values within our City and working toward justice and equality on behalf of all our citizens. 

In response to these principles, the City of Bremerton is working to improve diversity and equal opportunity. 

Initiative in 2019

Dr. Bryant Marks Sr. was hired to conduct mandatory all employee training on acknowledging and managing implicit bias. Dr. Marks’ training is available on YouTube and continues to be assigned to all new hires.  

Initiatives in 2020

In 2020, a workforce diversity plan was completed to evaluate and modernize the City’s workforce practices. This included analyzing recruitment processes, hiring and management of personnel and ensuring policies are updated to reflect our community. The City’s Equal Opportunity program and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) statement were also updated. 

The City began using Language Line throughout the City, which provides on-demand language interpretation. This service is available at all front counters and to employees in the field.

An Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Program Committee was established to assist the EEO Offices with EEO policy compliance and complaint resolution. This is made up of employees from each department in the City. 

The City also began using NEOGOV, an online training system designed for governmental agencies. This system includes training on workforce diversity and inclusion, Equal Employment Opportunity laws, unconscious bias, discrimination, harassment and gender identity, among other topics.  In November 2020, all employees were assigned the training series “Issues in Diversity,” which included the following: 

  • Be Attentive
  • Embrace Tough Conversations
  • Exercise Compassion
  • Expand Horizons
  • Share Responsibility
  • Speak with Care
  • Welcome New Perspectives

Initiatives in 2021

The City began developing a recruitment strategy to expand and diversify the hiring pool and will continue to incorporate best practices for workforce diversity. As part of this process, the City began redacting employee names, addresses, and names of the colleges they attended from applications prior to sending to subject matter experts for review and rating. This best practice is used to help prevent unconscious bias when reviewing and rating applications. We also expanded our recruitment distribution list to include community leaders and several diversified groups.  

The City began using Language Line to translate City webpages into Mam and Spanish.

All employees were assigned the following mandatory trainings:

  • EEO Laws: An Introduction
  • Age Discrimination in Employment Act
  • Equal Pay Act of 1963
  • Genetic Information Act
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act
  • Title I of the ADA
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

Initiatives in 2022

The City began researching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion needs assessment programs and consultants. The City also added a full-time Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position to the 2023 budget.  

Initiatives in 2023

Beginning in January 2023, Mayor Wheeler worked with an advisory group of community leaders to develop a request for proposals (RFP) for a consultant with DEI expertise to assist the City in establishing the full-time Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion position. The community leaders who all played a crucial role in the process included Anthony Ives, Executive Director of Kitsap Community Resources; Jill Stanton, Executive Director of Bremerton Housing Authority; Jessica Guidry, Kitsap Public Health District Equity Program Manager; Pastor Richmond Johnson, Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church; Dr. Lillian Lockett, Physician and Executive Director of the Marvin Williams Center; Martitha May, Parent Child NFP Community Health Worker, Kitsap Public Health District; Alyson Rotter, former Kitsap Strong Co-Director; and Lucretia Robertson, Principal and Founder of Clarity Partnerships.

The advisory group worked together to create a scope of work for the RFP along with a proposal rating criteria with the goal of positioning the potential incumbent for success.  The advisory group determined that the scope of work should center around stakeholder engagement - both internal engagement with City employees and external engagement with community members,  - that would inform a strategic plan and that coordinates the City’s DEI efforts including a recommended job description and recruitment process for the City’s new DEI position, and recommend supports and resources necessary for the new DEI position’s work with the Race Equity Advisory Commission.

After reviewing three responsive proposals, MFR Coaching and Consulting was selected for this project.  MFR Coaching and Consulting was chosen because of their in-depth expertise partnering with organizations to build capacity for DEI and culture change through a human-centered approach with staff, leaders, and stakeholders in the community.  The City has also hired Lucretia Robertson of Clarity Partnerships as  project manager on the City’s behalf. Ms. Robertson has ties to Bremerton, expertise working as a DEI professional, and will liaise with the project consultant to support project objectives.  She  will be able to leverage community connections and ensure the project stays on track.   MFR Coaching and Consulting and Ms. Robertson were hired based on their in-depth expertise and involvement with DEI plans for other organizations and their people-focused approach working with employees and stakeholders in the community. 

The kickoff meeting for this project was held on July 1, 2023, and the completion date is anticipated to be the end of November.

Project Overview

Stakeholder Engagement (Internal & External)Outcome 1:Solicit community input that informs:
  • The creation and implementation of a strategic plan
  • The creation of a job description and recruitment strategy for a DEI position
  • Recommend support necessary for a race equity focused community advisory commission
Outcome 2: Assess the City's workplace culture and workforce/leadership DEI capacity and skills
Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion PositionOutcome 1: Create a job description and recruitment plan for the City's DEI position
Race Equity Advisory CommissionOutcome 1: Provide a framework and resources for the Race Equity Advisory Commission to fulfill the commission's duties as established by the City Council
Strategic PlanningOutcome 1:Provide a DEI Strategic Plan inclusive of:
  • Stakeholder Engagement Objectives
  • DEI Position Objectives
  • Race Equity Advisory Committee Objectives
  • Strategies, policies, and procedures that advance equality and inclusion in the community and workplace
  • Estimated costs and resources necessary for a DEI Strategic Plan Implementation, preferably with a phased approach

I look forward to sharing updates on our progress in the future.