2010 budget would eliminate Director of Human Rights and Relations

Omaha, NE – The 2010 proposed Omaha city budget calls for the elimination of the Director of Human Rights and Relations.

The budget plan would roll Human Rights and Relations in to the Human Resources Department, which would manage both. A total of four Human Rights and Relations positions could be cut, according to budget documents. Human Rights and Relations handles discrimination complaints, contract compliance and enforcement. Last year, the Department handled 125 cases.

Ervin McSwain says city budget cuts would hamper the Department's efforts to investigate complaints, do training, and monitor minority contracts. He says the Department spends about 90 percent of its time investigating complaints.

Steve Oltmans, Mayor Jim Suttle's Chief of Staff, says budget cuts are coming across-the-board. He says Mayor Suttle is committed to human rights issues.

McSwain spoke Wednesday at the Hungry Club, a monthly meeting in north Omaha of community advocates. Click on the link above to listen to his speech.