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Final Round of Interviews Coming to Hire Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Director

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The city of Des Moines will soon have a new director of the Civil and Human Rights Commission as the final rounds of interviews are slated for Wednesday morning.

Tuesday night, the candidates heard from about 30 members of the community in an open public forum.

"We want to be as effective as possible. Get as much work done as possible," said Michael Bowser, Chairman of Civil and Human Rights Commission, and he hopes the new director will lead that charge.

The list has been narrowed to four candidates: Joshua Barr, Ellen Krug, Michelle Mackel-Wiederanders, and Rachel Scott.

Bowser said they want someone who can bring in some fresh ideas on how to improve the department.

"We certainly would like the new director to look into new ways to do education, different ways to interact with community," said Bowser. "Anything can be on the table at this point. We kind of want to think outside of the box and figure out how we can best help Des Moines."

They don't want to reinvent the wheel but they would like to be more efficient.

"Well certainly, it will have the same goals, same role. Investigating and civil rights cases, as well as doing education. How that gets done, well you know, we are will consider anything," said Bowser.

One of the four will take over for Rudy Simms, who has held the position for the past eight years.

The new director would head the Des Moines Civil and Human Rights Commission. The group investigates claims of discrimination in the city that are based on race, sexual orientation, or disabilities.

The interview process wraps up Wednesday at the Richard A. Clark Municipal Service Center at 1551 E MLK Jr. Pkwy. The commission is available for appointments, to hear from people that attended the meeting Tuesday night, Wednesday afternoon.

The city manager will make a final decision on the hiring once the interview process is complete. The commission will make its recommendation to the city manager on Thursday.

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