In June 2021, the Town of Acton’s Annual Town Meeting approved an FY22 capital budget request for a study of a Diversity Officer position and for follow-up implementation work. This action followed the establishment of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission (DEIC) in Acton and several incidents of bias and hate experienced by residents and elected leaders in Acton and occurred amidst a racial reckoning in the United States.
In September 2021, the Town of Acton’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Commission (DEIC) submitted a report with recommendations to the Select Board. The Commission was charged with “assessing the state of diversity and inclusion in Acton,” and its stated aim was to “dismantle structural and cultural barriers and offer recommendations to improve equity and empower underrepresented groups, especially racial, ethnic, and religious groups.” Among the Commission’s recommendations was to “Hire a Diversity Officer.” The Commission’s report included potential features and responsibilities of the position. Following the report, the Select Board authorized moving forward with the study to assist in the creation of the position.
In January 2022, UMass Boston’s Collins Center for Public Management and Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy jointly launched a study to help guide the implementation of a new diversity, equity, and inclusion position for the town of Acton.
The Town requested a study to be conducted for the development of recommendations about the position to be constructed. Some of the key questions underlying the study included:
- Where in the organizational structure does the position best fit?
- What impacts, if any, could this new position have on the existing organizational structure of the Town?
- What should the position’s title be?
- To whom should the position report?
- What should the specific responsibilities be?
- For compensation purposes, how should the position be classified?
This report offers major findings of the study and recommendations following a brief snapshot of the geographic, demographic, and governance features of the Town of Acton and a detailed summary of the methods used for data collection and analysis.
Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management, University of Massachusetts Boston and Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts Boston, "A New Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Role for the Town of Acton: Final Report" (2022). Publications from the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy. 64.