DEI Initiatives Update - April 19, 2021

The City of Mill Valley commits to act and encourage community action towards eliminating racial disparities, both inside government and in the community. The City Council has identified Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives as their top priority, and staff provides regular updates to the City Council and community at each City Council meeting.

A summary of this information will be shared tonight at the City Council meeting during the City Manager's Report. Participate.

DEI Work Plan Update

As directed by Council, staff continues to work through the 45 specific, tactical, actionable, measurable recommendations in the City’s DEI Work Plan to meaningfully advance racial equity in Mill Valley. The process includes bringing reports for community input and Council consideration and direction at upcoming, open and publicly noticed City Council meetings:

  • April 19 - Review of recommendations under the purview of the Police Department
  • May 17 - Review of recommendations under the purview of the Library, Arts & Recreation Department, Human Resources, and City Manager’s Office.
  • June 21 - Review of recommendations related to affordable housing, under the purview of the Planning and Building Department

We have posted a tracking tool on the City’s DEI webpage and community members can expect regular updates when Council has received the reports and either concluded that the item has been adequately addressed or given further direction to staff. Learn more.

City Manager's Department

The City Manager’s Department has been coordinating City-wide DEI efforts to leverage existing structures and build staff and organizational capacity. This includes the following:

  • Continued meeting with the DEI Working Group, which consists of two Councilmembers, the City Manager and staff.
  • Forming an internal DEI Core Team, which consists of representatives from all City departments to share and collaborate on City DEI initiatives.
  • Collecting demographic information on the Mill Valley community and City employees to better understand our organization and the community we serve.
  • Continued DEI training for all staff, with the development of a training policy in the works.
  • Coalition-building across the County to achieve DEI goals via continued engagement with local agencies and community partners.
  • Conducting transparent data collection, monitoring and reporting on all DEI and initiatives.
  • Conducting an employee organizational assessment with questions related to City DEI initiatives


At their meeting on April 7, 2021, Parks and Recreation Commissioners received an update on DEI initiatives from Interim Director of Arts and Recreation, Sean McGrew. He shared that he has been working with Soma Aquatics and Play Marin to provide swim lessons at no cost to the residents of places that are economically disenfranchised, such as Marin City. He shared the components of the upcoming program and the partnership between the three programs: Mill Valley Recreation will provide the facility and lifeguards, Soma Aquatics will provide the swim instruction and Play Marin will provide registration and transportation. The program will begin with training for program staff at the end of April, with the students participating in swim lessons shortly after.

Planning & Building
The Housing Advisory Committee (HAC) is anticipated to have its next meeting in May - the date and time is still TBD. The HAC was established in 2017 to serve as an advisory body to Council (and Planning Commission) on matters related to the Housing Element of the General Plan and the Affordable Housing Ordinance. Recent meetings have covered topics such as identifying City-Owned land to leverage an affordable housing, Affordable Housing Trust Fund, Housing Legislation, Home Match Program, and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) programs. Learn more.

Southern Marin Fire/Mill Valley Fire Department

  • SMFD joined forces with an array of community leaders for the kick-off meeting of the Fredrick Leon Marcus Youth Academy. SMFD’s role in the program will be to help educate the students on how local government works and specifically how the fire department works within the community.
  • Fire Chief Tubbs has directed Deputy Chief Peterson to create an internal SMFD DEI Task Force that will develop the draft DEI plan for the Board’s input and adoption.
  • Staff is working to collect information on the diversity makeup of the SMFD & Mill Valley Fire Department organizations. The District has not previously collected this information. This data will enable SMFD to evaluate employee demographics, identify and prioritize recruitment and retention needs and to better represent the community we serve.

Collaborating Across the County

We have the intention of coalition-building across the County to achieve DEI goals, and along those lines we wanted to share three events that may be of interest to the community. We share these third-party initiatives not to take credit for them, but to support and amplify them through our channels.

  • On March 22, the Marin County Board of Supervisors received a presentation regarding equity measures in Marin. They discussed a new Race Equity Planning Committee, human resources initiatives that evaluate recruitment and staff retention practices, training, and a new bias identification technology tool. They received an update on the Digital Marin project, to narrow the gap wherein underserved residents miss out on fair opportunities because of a lack of technological tools or skills, as well as an update on a wildfire prevention workforce program that trains and develops underserved, underrepresented, and underfunded adults throughout the County from the Marin County Fire Department. They also discussed the new universal basic income program in partnership with the Marin Community Foundation. The summary of County’s equity measures is posted online and the video is also available (Jump to 1 hour, 29 min into the recording).
  • There will be a virtual presentation on the topic of “The Past, Present, and Future of Marin City Governance” on Wednesday, April 21 at 7:00 pm. It will be presented by Damian Morgan, the Chairman of the Board of the Marin City Community Services District, and Paul Austin, the founder and CEO of Play Marin. At the program, Morgan and Austin will provide an overview of Marin City governance, with a focus on discussions currently underway about the benefits of incorporation. Learn more and register.
  • Heart of the Village is presenting the second in their "5 for 5" Speakers Series” on Wednesday, April 21 at 7:00 pm. At the event, you will meet five DEI leaders from different Southern Marin towns, learn about the impactful initiatives they’re working on, and find out how to connect and support these efforts. Learn more and register.

Learn more: