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Somerville mayor announces new plan to diversify boards and commissions

Somerville aims to bring greater diversity to its boards and commissions through a new initiative announced by Mayor Katjana Ballantyne.

In the plan’s first phase, the city is creating a standardized process for recruiting community members for those city panels that is inclusive and transparent.

That process will include calls for new members to be publicized through a variety of digital and traditional channels, and for a minimum four-week period. The notices will be available in five languages outside English and promoted by a variety of city offices and local organizations.

Additionally, where possible, lived experience — on top of professional skills — will be considered as qualifications. The next phase of the plan will focus on standardizing the appointment process itself.


“If we want to live up to our values of equity and inclusivity, we need to break down those barriers so that our boards and commissions are representative of the wonderful diversity in our community,” Ballantyne said in a statement.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.