Jersey City’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion hopes to end ‘tale of two cities’

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The Jersey City Council unanimously passed (9-0) an amendment to create the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, with responsibilities including tax abatement compliance and the hiring of minorities and women-owned businesses by developers.

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Jersey City Council President Lavarro called the move the “promise fulfilled to the rest of Jersey City, outside of downtown, and making sure that as we are talking about making a bridge ending the tale of two cities and I think this is critical and key.”

Aside from reviewing the annual a report from the Abatement and Compliance officer, it will coordinate with the employment and training office which have a database of “minorities and women-owned businesses of which developers can choose from.”

For eligible businesses, the Office of Diversity will hold training seminars on how to get certified and entered into the database.

The Office of Diversity is part of the Department of Administration and will operate as a central office for inter-departmental and community collaboration to increase and enforce “inclusion of all persons irrespective of race, color, religions, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or other protected characteristic.”

Other responsibilities include outreach efforts to cultivate relationships with local youth, conduct a disparity analysis – otherwise known as “Croson Study” and salary audits of all city employees to determine if there are pay equality issues.

Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman, who just received a 30-year tax abatement in her ward, also warned developers about compliance.

“For those developers, the city is now going to be watching you, and tax abatements won’t be so easily gotten through if you don’t comply to Jersey City residents and I’m happy about that.”