Mount Prospect hires help to boost diversity, inclusion efforts
Mount Prospect leaders have pledged to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a priority in the village, in light of last year's controversy over the police uniform patch and complaints about the lack of diversity in village government.
Village trustees began following through on that promise last week by hiring inQUEST Consulting LLC, at a cost of up to $84,000, to help lead those efforts.
Chicago-based inQUEST, whose clients include the City of Elgin and the Institute of Real Estate Management, will examine village policies, as well as how those policies are carried out.
"We are not naive in thinking everyone acts according to the policy," said Tricia Dupilka, senior partner.
inQUEST will utilize existing survey data, while also gathering new data from stakeholders, including employees, then produce a report for the village.
Danata Andrews, inQUEST operations and marketing manager, said the work will take at least three months.
"The most important thing is we want to get it right," she said.
Village trustees unanimously approved the contract.
"This is a top priority for our village and we look forward to working with you," Trustee Richard Rogers said. "Hopefully this can be a major improvement for the village of Mount Prospect."
"I'm eager to get on this adventure," Trustee Peggy Pissarreck added.
Mayor Paul Hoefert raised the issue of the police patch, which a sharply divided village board ordered removed last year because some in the community said its imagery had been co-opted by white supremacists and other extremist groups.
"If you haven't heard of that, you're going to need to know about that," he said. "It brought a lot of things to the forefront, and I think, if you review some of that, you will you'll learn about our community."
Hoefert called working with inQUEST an exciting turning point for the village, and a chance to identify and pinpoint places where the village can do things differently. He also said that while the village is predominantly white -- about 77%, according to the latest U.S. Census data -- no one should make assumptions about the community based on that.
"We're a multicultural community. We've done a lot of things, I think, without the help of experts like yourselves to promote diversity and to celebrate," Hoefert said. "There's a lot more that we can do, I know. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know, right? So you're going to help us figure that part out."
During a village board meeting last week, resident Carole Delahunty asked how the inQUEST foresees "managing the subset of residents that think DEI is a waste of money."
"The way we approach diversity is that it includes those perspectives," Dupilka replied. "We don't want cookie-cutter, so we listen to different perspectives. We try to understand what is the underlying concern.
"But what can happen is that people have misconceptions about what DEI efforts are, and think it's going to exclude them," she added.