MANCHESTER — After declaring racism a public health crisis over the summer, the Board of Directors will revisit that discussion this week when the town’s Office of Budget and Research presents an analysis of key figures and data that can help guide the town in any initiatives it pursues related to racial disparities.
The board meets Tuesday with an agenda that includes several topics, including more details about the connection between racism and public health. On July 7, the board unanimously approved a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis in Manchester. During that same meeting, the board voted to appropriate $165,000 from the town’s reserves to outfit the Manchester Police Department with body cameras.
The presentation, which is included in General Manager Scott Shanley’s report section of the agenda, gives a breakdown on how racism and public health are related and data supporting what the town already does regarding equality.
Shanley said the town collects a lot of data about services it provides as-is, so Tuesday’s presentation will give directors and the public a look at those numbers and a window into how administration plans to improve. The presentation includes data about the diversity of town employees, arrest data, and other metrics.
“We do gather a lot of performance measures, and some of them do have race and ethnicity attached,” Shanley said this morning. “We want to talk about the data that we do have with respect to our performance regarding race and ethnicity, and discuss the things that we will be measuring going forward as it relates to race and ethnicity.”
Some identified intents and goals of the resolution passed in July include making sure Manchester provides an equitable delivery of services and protection under the law to all citizens, promoting cultural competency in town operations, and showing diversity in participation in town programs.
Shanley said the town’s administration believes it does promote equality in the services it provides, but data is a good way of measuring that and there are more ways they plan on collecting data in the future.
“For example, paramedic services. We don’t record any race or ethnic data, or haven’t in the past, but it’s a very, very important public health service so we’ve begun recording data,” Shanley said.
Tuesday’s agenda also includes a COVID-19 update from the town’s director of health, Jeff Catlett, a possible vote on an extension of the Downtown 2020 Initiative program, and a continued discussion about a townwide celebration of Juneteenth.
The full agenda for Tuesday’s Board of Directors meeting can be found online at http://bod.townofmanchester.org/.
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