The Gist

- Chair Jim Bostic wants reports finalized at the January meeting.
- Housing, Recreation and Communications subcommittees have been created.
- Mayor Rusty Paul would receive the task force report after the Jan. 11 meeting.

The Sandy Springs Diversity & Inclusion Task Force will work to have a report completed and ready to present to Mayor Rusty Paul after its Jan. 11 meeting.

Chairman Jim Bostic told members this was his plan during the task force’s Dec. 14 meeting.

The Housing subcommittee’s report was approved in June. But since it included Communications recommendations, Chair Olivia Rocamora suggested editing those out. Rabbi Joshua Heller, the Communications subcommittee chair, put some of the ideas into his group’s report.

He gave an update on the Communications subcommittee report. Suggestions in it included hiring someone to translate documents and meetings into Spanish and encouraging newspapers of record to distribute at apartment complexes.

“So what has not changed since our last meeting is the proposal that we are asking our city staff to find the most effective mechanisms to send information to city residents in places where they travel, worship or congregate,” he said.

The task force wants the city to publicize its Sandy Springs Works app as it provides a lot of city information. They also want to make the city more accessible for residents who struggle with English.

“If you go by residents, we have 6,000 residents who speak Spanish and … do not speak English very well. There are many more residents who speak Spanish,” Heller said.

So, 6% of the city’s population would benefit from Spanish translations.

City Clerk Raquel Gonzalez, who also serves on the task force, told its members city staff is researching closed captioning for its live-streamed meetings.

But making a recommendation for more minority hiring was seen as a potential legal issue because that might promote preferential hiring.

“There are ways to diversify your workforce and to think about supplier diversity, maybe for city contracts and other things like that to get at the same effort to be more engaged with the community. So I think we can still reach the goal without having any illegality,” task force member Nicole Morris said.

The Recreation subcommittee still needs to meet with the city’s Recreation and Parks Department staff to complete its report, Chair Clarissa Sparks, said.

“We need to nail down when we’re going to meet, because we need to have several meetings before we have our January session, if we’re going to have any results to talk about,” Bostic said.

The task force plans to meet on Jan. 11. After that meeting Bostic said he wants to present the three completed reports to the mayor, who set up the task force.

Bob Pepalis

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Reporter Newspapers.