Walz completes cabinet with Chief Inclusion Officer

Role will work to change 'systemic nature' of hiring bias

Sloane Martin
April 24, 2019 - 4:20 am

The Tim Walz cabinet is complete as of Tuesday, with the introduction of a Chief Inclusion Officer.

Started under his predecessor, the Chief Inclusion Officer isn't actually hiring people within state government to increase diversity or agreeing to state government contracts with diverse businesses.

Chris Taylor says his job will be to address the organizational culture of agencies to eliminate bias in hiring...

"A lot of the big challenges that we see are of a systemic nature of disparities, inequities and privilege that's built into the system that we don't see everyday," he said at his introductory press conference at the capitol.

Taylor comes from the Minnesota Historical Society where he held the same title.

"My work at the Minnesota Historical Society prepared me to understand not only contemporary issues, but that these issues all have a history and they don't happen in a vacuum," he said.

The announcement comes after a report of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board circumventing fair and open hiring practices. The Timberjay in Northern St. Louis County reported former 8th district congressional candidate Joe Radinovich was given a highly-paid, permanent position -- a posting that was up for just 24 hours.

Walz said he was "very unhappy" about the situation.

"I think having Chris here and a voice on that, this needs to be, and it's appropriate for this, making sure that doesn't happen," Walz said. "Because those are the exact kinds of cases that keep people out and keep inclusion and equity out of the system because in many cases, if you don't know the right people, how are you going to get the job?"

The IRRRB tells the paper the process was fair.

The Walz administration elevated the Chief Inclusion Officer to an assistant commissioner so that it continues after they leave office. Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan says they expect the position to have tangible results.

"This work is intentional and it takes a lot of time," she said. "So having Chris on board, along with Commissioner (Rebecca) Lucero in the Department of Human Rights, with Migdalia (Meléndez) from our Public Engagement Office, I think of these three folks who are really setting the vision for us to do this work in a very intentional way, so that we move beyond diversity-'yay!' into real, equitable and inclusive policies and practices that last beyond the governor and myself.

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