The next month apparently will be a "cooling off" period for the Utah Anti-Discrimination Division Advisory Committee.
Some members have expressed concern over the resignation of former director Anna Jensen, but in lieu of expressing themselves, chairman Walker Kennedy III said the committee needs time to react to Jensen's departure.During Wednesday's meeting, Bob Linnell, Gov. Mike Leavitt's deputy for governmental affairs, admitted the division is in a state of flux because of Jensen's resignation and specter of two reports being prepared by the legislative auditor general and the U.S. Civil Rights Commission.
Once the reports are released, Linnell said the governor's office is committed to following the recommendations, if any are made. He said it will be refreshing to have outside people look at the workings of the division.
For several years, the division has come under fire for the length of time needed to complete an anti-discrimination complaint and once decisions are reached, the division has been criticized for not enforcing them.
Jensen implemented many changes, including alternative dispute resolution designed to solve the problem between employer and employee quickly. Kennedy said even though Jensen resigned abruptly, the committee will continue to push her ideas.
Linnell said even though the State Industrial Commission has the responsibility to hire a new director, the commissioners have agreed to involve council members in a screening process to reduce the number of applicants to six.
He also announced that committee member Dianne Hesleph was reappointed by the governor, as were eight others, but she has said she doesn't want to serve any more. That will leave the committee with 14 members until Hesleph's replacement is appointed.
Kennedy said the committee will meet Sept. 29 to interview and screen director applicants and give recommendations to the commission. Linnell said this process will provide a smooth transition between directors.
At the request of committee member Bel Randall, Kennedy said the first item of business during the Sept. 20 meeting will be a discussion of the resignation and the commission's administrative procedures.
Between now and Sept. 20, committee member Robyn Kaelin will draft a letter intended to not only thank Jensen for her work as director but express support for her proposals that she implemented. Kaelin said the letter also will serve as a recommendation as Jensen looks for another job.
The letter will be sent to committee members a week ahead of the meeting, and apparently it will be part of the discussion about Jensen's resignation.