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Equality office victim of Chatham budget cuts

Posted January 20, 2011

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— Chatham County commissioners have eliminated the county's Human Relations Commission director as part of budget cuts, and some residents say the move will hurt the community.

The commission addresses local civil rights issues. It urged the commissioners, for example, not to get involved in an immigration enforcement program known as 287(G).

"It's particularly troubling that the one office, the one position charged with enforcing civil rights laws and regulations at the local level, was targeted and eliminated," Mark Dorosin, senior managing attorney for the UNC Center for Civil Rights, said Thursday.

A community as diverse as Chatham County needs an office focused on equality issues, Dorosin said.

state flag Chatham County cuts equality office

The county has one of the fastest-growing Hispanic populations in the state. The number of Hispanics in the county has increased about 20-fold in the past two decades, and the group now accounts for about 12 percent of the local population.

Black people account for another 13 percent of the county population.

The Human Relations Commission recently issued a report about problems facing non-whites in the community. Officials said it mostly addressed issues of inequality that extend beyond Chatham County.

"It's very troubling. The report came out in November, and less than two months later, this position is eliminated," Dorosin said.

Brian Bock, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said the budget cut was "unrelated completely" to the report on area minority problems. The Human Relations Commission office had one staff member, and eliminating it saves the county about $100,000 a year, he said.

"We feel like those services, like most places in the state, can be done by the commission rather than a full-time staff position," Bock said, adding that he plans to meet with the commission next week to ensure no programs in place fall through the cracks.

According to the state Human Relations Commission, only 13 North Carolina cities and counties have a paid staff person to deal with equality issues instead of a volunteer commission. They include Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Orange County, Wilson and Rocky Mount.


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  • HockeyRules Jan 21, 2011

    "Again we see WRAL doing selective reporting"

    paranoia will destroya

  • buiiytggh Jan 21, 2011

    The "citzens" of Chatham county overwhelmingly did not see the need for this $80,000 year+ being charged to the county taxes. Again we see WRAL doing selective reporting. The HR Commissioner wrote an ICE resolution that prohibited any county office from contracting with I.C.E. and declared Chatahm County a safe haven for illegal immagration. It was posted in the Que Pasa newspaper and spread all throughout Mexico, Central America and South America that Chatham County was a safe haven. Well, that has changed!!

    Randy Dye
    aka Randy's Right

  • wildcat Jan 21, 2011

    Good job. glad I voted for all of you.

  • brjunc Jan 21, 2011

    it was an excellent budget cut!!! Thank you new BOC! keep up the good work!

  • georgegray Jan 20, 2011

    "The Human Relations Commission office had one staff member, and eliminating it saves the county about $100,000 a year, he said."

    Wow! $100,000 for political correctness. Sounds like a good budget cut to me.

  • tubarick Jan 20, 2011

    A County employee recommending not cooperating with the Federal government and issuing a report which "addressed issues of inequality that extend beyond Chatham County". Yep. Waste of money.

  • jdupree Jan 20, 2011

    We cannot afford spending that targets benefiting specific groups or races. That is discriminatory in and of itself. It is way past time for government programs like this to be disolved. There are only a handful of counties in NC that have this position and Chatham clearly cannot afford it.

  • gnewsome1 Jan 20, 2011

    "only 13 North Carolina cities and counties have a paid staff person to deal with equality issues instead of a volunteer commission" Nuff said.

  • gotsomesense Jan 20, 2011

    Sounds like they are plenty diverse, which I think is the goal, so I wouldn't think they needed somebody to ensure equality...

  • CoCo Jan 20, 2011

    Yes. This "position" advised the County Commissioners to not adopt 287(g) - and many of them were just voted out of their posts since they never bothered to consult at all with taxpayers and voters. We wouldn't have so many "minority problem areas" if we had 287(g), and we would not be supporting so many illegals.