[R.O. 1996 § 120.500; Ord. No. 4482 § 1, 3-3-2014]
There is hereby established a Human Relations Commission, which Commission shall be selected, serve and have the powers and responsibilities set forth herein.
[R.O. 1996 § 120.510; Ord. No. 4482 § 1, 3-3-2014]
It is declared to be the public policy of the City to fulfill its responsibility in securing for all citizens equal opportunity in employment, public accommodations, public services and housing and to continually strive to eliminate and prevent discrimination, including but not limited to segregation or separation, in these areas against individuals and groups for reasons, including, but not limited to, race, sex, sexual preference or orientation, ethnicity, familial status, disability, religion, age, color, language, national origin, veteran status or ancestry.
To this end, the City firmly believes in and supports the human rights provisions as set forth in Sections 213.040 through 213.070, RSMo., delineating unlawful discrimination practices in housing, commercial real estate loans, employment, public accommodations and other practices as detailed therein. The City will work to prevent or eliminate such conduct and to assist the State, if so requested, in resolving complaints alleging discrimination, as may be necessary, by developing strategies to anticipate, prepare for, and alleviate community tensions arising from intergroup conflict, providing resources and direction to a complainant as necessary, and assisting the State, Federal agencies, and other civil rights organizations in conflict resolution as needed and directed by the Mayor and Council.
Furthermore, it is hereby declared to be the policy of the City to promote diversity awareness and inclusion through education, meaningful community partnerships, and the establishment of an open forum for dialogue and discussion of issues affecting the community related to such topics for the primary purpose of eliminating or preventing discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities for each citizen of Blue Springs to live a safe, peaceful life in a community that treats all persons with dignity and respect.
[R.O. 1996 § 120.520; Ord. No. 4482 § 1, 3-3-2014; Ord. No. 4656, 4-17-2017; Ord. No. 4745, 5-21-2018; Ord. No. 4813, 4-15-2019]
Purpose. The purpose of the Human Relations Commission is to foster the improvement of human relations among and between citizens of all cultural backgrounds so as to provide all individuals with an equitable opportunity to grow and participate to the best of their ability in our economic, educational, political, and social systems.
Members Of Human Relations Commission.
There shall be a Human Relations Commission consisting of seven (7) members, appointed by the Mayor, with the consent and approval of a majority of the City Council. Members shall be residents and shall not have been convicted of a felony.
Student Members. In addition, there shall be two (2) student members of the Human Relations Commission. The student members must be, at the time of their service on the Commission, a student of a high school within the City limits. The Human Relations Commission shall seek nominations from high schools located within the City limits, review the applications and select candidates for interviews. The Human Relations Commission will recommend for appointment by the Mayor, with the consent and approval of a majority of the Council, student members to serve one-year terms from September 1 to August 31 as non-voting members of the Commission.
The Chairperson or Vice Chairperson may resign from office at any time during their term and may do so without resigning from the Commission. In such event, the Mayor, with the consent and approval of a majority of the City Council, shall appoint another voting member to replace the resigning officer, and such person shall serve the unexpired term of the person they replace.
A majority of the appointed voting members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business thereof.
The City Administrator shall assign staff support, and the City shall budget monetary support for the Commission.
[R.O. 1996 § 120.530; Ord. No. 4482 § 1, 3-3-2014]
The Commission, through its members, agents, and committee task forces, shall have the following functions, duties and responsibilities:
Promote mutual understanding and respect among all diverse groups in the City and seek solutions to related problems concerning citizens of the City with the objective to provide an environment in which each citizen shall have the opportunity to grow to their maximum potential and be treated with dignity and respect.
Endeavor to eliminate prejudice among various groups in the City and to create harmonious relationships among citizens, groups and agencies within the City.
Encourage the cooperation of all community groups, both private and public, and work with civil rights organizations, community organizations, Law Enforcement Agencies, school districts and other community educational institutions and other groups to foster better human relations among the citizenry of Blue Springs and within the surrounding communities when those relations will significantly impact the quality of life in Blue Springs.
Initiate or coordinate discussions between individuals or groups in order to lessen tensions and promote human relations understanding in the City.
Conduct studies and assemble pertinent data, if specifically requested by the Mayor and City Council, for the purposes of:
Developing the most effective means of improving human and community relations;
Organizing training materials for use by the Commission to assist civil and human rights and human relations agencies, neighborhood organizations, educational institutions, law enforcement agencies, businesses and others to prevent unfair treatment and encourage harmonious relations among all groups in the City;
Providing information to the City's Office of Communication for possible dissemination of such information and research as, in its judgment, will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination in the City; and
Measuring effectiveness of programs established to eliminate discrimination in the City.
Seek and enlist the cooperation, including financial assistance, of private charitable, religious, labor, civic or benevolent organizations, for the purposes of this Article.
Implement and coordinate programs acceptable to the City that may be funded by City, County, State and Federal grants or other programs to effectuate the purposes and policy of this Article.
Advise and consult with the Council and the City Administrator on matters involving discrimination to assure effective compliance with non-discriminatory policies and ordinances.
Study, advise and make other recommendations for legislation, policies, procedures and practices of the City and other public entities as are consistent with the purposes of this Article.
Upon specific direction of the Council, create advisory agencies, conciliation councils (a subcommittee made up of Commission members), and task forces.
These groups will aid in effectuating the purposes of this Article; to study the problem of discrimination in all or specific fields or instances of discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, familial status, sexual preference or orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, language, or veteran status; to foster through community effort, or otherwise, good will, cooperation and conciliation among the groups and elements in the population of the City; and to make recommendations to the City for the development of policies and procedures, and for programs of formal and informal education, which the Commission may recommend to the City.
Such advisory agencies, conciliation councils (a subcommittee made up of Commission members) and task forces may be composed of Commission members and representative citizens serving without pay. Every effort shall be made to ensure that each district of the City shall be represented by at least one (1) member of each advisory agency, conciliation council or task force.
The Commission may itself make the studies and perform the acts authorized by this Subsection. It may, by voluntary conferences with parties in interest, endeavor by conciliation and persuasion, to eliminate discrimination in all the stated fields and to foster good will and cooperation among all elements of the population of the City. The Commission, as a whole or a committee thereof, may also serve as a resource to citizens who believe they have suffered discrimination.
Provide to the City's Office of Communication for possible dissemination such publications and results of its investigations and research that in its judgment will tend to promote good will and minimize or eliminate discrimination because of race, religion, color, sex, familial status, sexual preference or orientation, age, disability, ethnicity, language, national origin, ancestry, disability or veteran status.
Prepare an annual report for the City Council concerning the Commission's activities under the provisions of this Article, with recommendations and pertinent comments.
Regularly advise the City Administrator or the City Administrator's designee, through distribution of agendas, minutes, memoranda, reports and other pertinent documents, of the items of business before the Commission, the ongoing status of such items, and the dispositions of such items.