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Ordinance Codifies Office of Equity & Human Rights

Council Passes Ordinance 28866 to Codify Office of Equity & Human Rights and Responsibilities of City Manager


December 20, 2022



Jeff Lueders, Media and Communications, jlueders@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-5152

Maria Lee, Media and Communications, maria.lee@cityoftacoma.org, (253) 591-2054

Tacoma City Council Passes Ordinance 28866

--Ordinance Codifies Office of Equity & Human Rights and Responsibilities of City Manager
to Ensure Continuation of City of Tacoma’s Transformation Efforts Long-Term--


TACOMA, Wash. – Ordinance 28866 - brought forward by District 3 Council Member Keith Blocker and co-sponsored by Mayor Victoria Woodards and Deputy Mayor Catherine Ushka - was unanimously passed by the Tacoma City Council tonight.


“With the full support of my City Council colleagues, we have laid the foundation necessary for future administrations to continue vital work in service of our historically marginalized communities,” said Council Member Blocker. “By focusing on our most vulnerable populations based upon racial disparities, we begin to reverse the negative impacts that racism has had on our city. Tacoma is fortunate that City Manager Elizabeth Pauli has fully embraced this approach and our hope is that future city managers can move the needle further.”


Ordinance 28866 recognizes that the City Manager’s internal Office of Equity and Human Rights has been a leader in the City of Tacoma’s transformation efforts, and codifies the City’s Office of Equity & Human Rights as well as the responsibilities of the City Manager as follows to ensure continuation of this work in the years to come:

  • The City Manager shall develop policies, practices and strategic investments to reverse racial disparity trends in the community and eliminate institutional racism at the City of Tacoma to ensure that outcomes and opportunities for all people are no longer predicable by race.
  • The City Manager shall ensure all City of Tacoma departments and offices incorporate racial equity principles in all aspects of strategic planning and budgetary planning.
  • The City Manager shall provide to the City Council, on at least an annual basis, a formal report on progress made to advance equity, including progress made on City of Tacoma racial equity action planning, contracting and workforce diversity goals, and any other goals as determined by the City Council that impact the racial equity framework.

“The City Council wants to see the transformation efforts that are currently underway at the City of Tacoma continue well beyond our current administration,” said Mayor Woodards. “Our adoption of Resolution 40622 affirming our dedication and commitment to comprehensive and sustained transformation of all of the institutions, systems, policies, practices, and contracts impacted by systemic racism was an important first step. Formally adding the duties outlined in Ordinance 28866 to the responsibilities of the City Manager is a critical next step in realizing our long-term vision.”


"In all my years of public service, I have learned that if you don’t lead with equity, equity falls behind,” said Deputy Mayor Ushka. “Anti-racist leadership is critical in the present moment and for future generations, and I am proud to stand with Mayor Woodards, Council Member Blocker and our other Council colleagues in support of Ordinance 28866. We must continue to be intentional about our efforts, and move forward with courage as we build on the work that we’ve done thus far. This ordinance codifies this work and our path forward.”

“While we have made progress in this work, there is much more to be done as we continue our efforts to ensure measurable improvements in the equitable health and wellbeing of all members of our community,” said City Manager Pauli. “This requires ongoing collaboration as well as the ability to innovate and adapt to our community’s evolving needs.”


"The Office of Equity and Human Rights has taken a vital role in furthering anti-racism and, with the passage of Ordinance 28866, the Council has provided direction to future City administrations to continue addressing racial disparities within our organization and the community we serve,” said Chief Equity Officer Lisa Woods.  “Making the Office a requirement in our code ensures that the work will continue, so outcomes and opportunities are no longer predicable by race.”