Kent Pilot Contributor Barbara Jorgenson responds to our story yesterday on Mayor Chris Cerino’s call for more diversity on town committees and commissions 

In the 13 years I have lived in Chestertown, not once has any Mayor, any Council member, or any Town employee publicly solicited any candidate for any appointed Committee or Commission–let alone a candidate to represent the diversity of our Town’s population.

When I was a member of the Historic District Commission, I suggested to its then chair and our Town-employee liaison that the chair write a Letter to the Editor to our local media seeking applicants for a Commission opening. I was told by both that “we” don’t do that.

In 2020, as Rev. Tolliver strove to have the Council adopt a truly representative Human Rights Commission, he filed a draft ordinance and supporting memo that specifically pointed out that the three dozen or so members of several Committees and Commissions appointed by the Mayor included less than a handful of Persons of Color.

Rev. Tolliver’s proposed Human Rights Commission addressed this very apparent inequality by setting out a nomination process that took the nomination process away from the Mayor and empowered the Commission’s chair and vice chair to seek qualified candidates and present those to the Council for affirmation.

This nomination process was one of the provisions Tom Herz targeted and which ultimately led to Rev. Tolliver withdrawing his proposed Commission.

So kudos to the Mayor for coming to the party, albeit late.