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Meet the Kenney administration's diversity watchdog

Here's the skinny on the "chief diversity and inclusion" officer.

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Mayor-elect Jim Kenney announced three more major appointments to his administration on Wednesday. Here's what you need to know.

 

Nolan A. Atkinson, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

What’s the job?

It’s fairly self-explanatory: The chief diversity and inclusion reports directly to the mayor about issues of diversity and inclusion. But this position is a big deal, because the job never existed before — at least not in such an official capacity.

The City of Philadelphia employs over 25,000 people. That’s a lot of jobs to fill, and the government sets the highest example for the rest of the city. But there is much scrutiny about the demographics and ethnic makeup of this workforce, especially in the executive offices. Latinos represent 13 percent of the city, but only hold five percent of government jobs. Likewise, Asians are seven percent of the city and just two percent of the city workforce.

So the job is to change that by “addressing the barriers that keep the City's workforce racially and economically divided,” Kenney’s camp said in a statement.

Who is Atkinson?

Atkinson is an attorney with Duane Morris LLP in Philadelphia. He also serves as the firm’s diversity officer and has served the on the ethics task force under the Nutter administration. Amazing fact: Atkinson, who is African American, petitioned to have his great-grandfather posthumously admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar — over 150 years after after he was refused by the association due to racial discrimination.

Kenney also appointed Ellen Mattleman Kaplan as the city's chief integrity officer. Amy Kurkland, the current inspector general for the Nutter administration, will stay on in her position.

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