Mount Prospect’s Community Engagement Committee, established in 2019 to help celebrate the diversity of the community, is on “permanent hiatus” while the village’s newly hired diversity, equity and inclusion consultant conducts its work, said the Mayor Paul Hoefert.
The future of the committee, which in 2020 hosted a ‘community conversation’ on issues of racial justice and equality, came up on Tuesday during a more than three-hour conversation with the village board on volunteer panels and commissions.
When former committee member Liz Fischer asked Hoefert about the status of the panel, the mayor replied that he was on hiatus and, if reinstated, “definitely will have a much more assertive mission, a much more concise mission. “.
“In my opinion, we will follow our instructions from the DEI consultant,” he added.
Fischer said at least some of the committee members were unaware of the break.
“We put a lot of time and energy into it, and not even being told that we were going to be downgraded is very disrespectful,” she said. “We were giving back to our community, and I feel like we benefited.”
Among the committee members who say they were unaware the panel was on hiatus is Ronak McFadden.
“We heard over and over again from the community that they really enjoyed (the) community conversation,” she said, adding that the committee hoped to meet with the mayor, village manager Michael Cassady and the chief of the police.
But Hoefert said the village received a communication from the committee expressing a desire to take a break.
“Now that we are following the DEI journey, it may reconstitute itself in a different format,” he said.
Last week, the village council hired Chicago-based inQUEST Consulting LLC, at a cost of up to $84,000, to lead efforts to examine diversity issues in the community. The company expects to release a report in about three months.