The city of Chula Vista plans to elevate its focus to promote and encourage justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and accountability by addressing structural and systemic disparities in the community and municipal services.
In a recent city council meeting, elected officials unanimously approved a $200,000 agreement with Tribsey Consulting, a women-owned general partnership firm, for outreach and assessments to develop and implement a five-year Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Action Plan. According to a staff report, the entire amount for 18 months of scoped services is $140,000 with an optional $60,000 contract extension for up to a year.
“What we've all been working on here, and trying to get the handle on, is to be more inclusive of our community and to make sure they feel welcome here. The building that civic participation is so important— it’s key,” said Mayor Mary Casillas Salas during the meeting.
The city issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) in late February from qualified firms to provide a JEDI Action Plan. A panel of city staff selected Tribesy Consulting, co-founded by Reena Doyle and Gail Watts, on March 31, out of three responses, whom the city determined to be “responsive and responsible”.
Tribsey will asses city departments’ current organizational practices for eight months beginning in August. By April 2023, they will coach staff members, hold community meetings and begin creating the action plan.
The company expects to implement the JEDI Action Plan in September 2023 to achieve the city’s short-term and long-term goals for internal and external efforts.
“Throughout this effort, we will be looking inward at city operations and outward at our community. Internally and operationally, we are pursuing this to build an inclusive workforce that promotes an environment where all employees are comfortable and welcome and who they uniquely are, and showing up to the workplace every day being their authentic selves,” Evans said.
According to Evans, these efforts will lead to “better collaboration, engagement, morale, diverse perspectives for improved outcomes, and increased productivity,” and better service to the community and the customers working with the city.
“It's important that we understand the diverse needs and perspectives of all members of our community because that enables us to be able to better serve them and that creates better relationships establishes trust and improves the quality of life,” Evans said. “it's important because it allows us to address inequities that might be present and to respond to those to improve outcomes and quality of life for underrepresented populations in our city.”
The City has already made strides toward advancing equity since being recognized as a Certified Welcoming City. The city is also ranked #2 in the 2019 New American Economy Index and has addressed the digital divide, developed a healthy community, and fostered conversations on equity and race through its Human Relations Commission.
In October 2019, Chula Vista became the first city in the state of California to earn a designation by Welcoming America Network as a Certified Welcoming City. This designation provides tools and resources to help cities and partners to reduce barriers newcomers face to allow full participation and build bridges in the community.
Among other actions, the City Council adopted a digital equity and inclusion plan in 2021, which aims to address, and bridge the digital divide in the community. Last year, the city’s sustainability staff developed a climate equity index as a part of the Climate Action Plan to highlight how inequalities lead to significant lasting impacts.