To the Editor:
I am the current chair of the Highland Park Equity Commission, and I’m writing to correct a false statement made about the Commission in the council/mayoral debate on Thursday, May 30. The debate can be viewed on youtube:
At the 44:35 mark of the video, Councilperson Matthew Hale describes the Equity Commission’s role in hiring the Acting Police Chief and Captain. Specifically, he says, “of the officers who are in the pool, these are the two we [meaning the Equity Commission] would like to choose” starting at 44:50.
Councilperson Hale’s description is false. The Equity Commission did not “choose” (or “endorse” or “recommend”) anyone. We have asked Councilperson Hale – multiple times in writing and in person – to stop mischaracterizing our work in this way. It’s disappointing and frustrating that he continues to do so.
Here’s what’s true: The Equity Commission (EC) worked with the public to generate questions that the Public Safety Committee (PSC) asked of the candidates in a closed interview session. Councilperson Hale, as liaison to the EC, organized the PSC’s ratings and comments about the candidates’ answers to those questions. The EC reviewed that material and sent feedback to the PSC through Councilperson Hale. We have circulated this feedback before, and we clearly did not endorse, recommend, or choose anyone for this promotion.
Justin Burton, chair of the Highland Park Equity Commission