ANKENY, Iowa (AP) — Ankeny leaders are taking steps to form the city’s first human rights commission and bring the Des Moines suburb into compliance with state law.
City Council members on Monday discussed a draft ordinance for a commission that would include five volunteer members, the Des Moines Register reported. Appointments will take into account racial, religious, cultural and social groups within the city. The selection process will include an interview with the mayor and a staff member.
Similar to other municipal civil rights agencies in Iowa, the commission will study discrimination locally, and work on outreach and education efforts in the community to reduce it. Complaints of discriminatory practices in Ankeny will be referred to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission for investigation.
Iowa requires cities with more than 29,000 people to have such a human rights agency. Ankeny’s population passed 29,000 people in the early 2000s and now stands at around 65,000, making it the largest city in Iowa without a human rights commission.
City Administrator David Jones said city officials learned of the oversight only a few months ago.
The proposed ordinance will before the City Council on Jan. 20. Once approved, the city will seek applicants. The commission should be formed by sometime in the spring, Jones said.