The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Tiffany Ward as the first chief equity officer, responsible for carrying out the county’s racial equity and social justice initiative.
Ward will work out of County Executive Marc Elrich’s office in implementing the county’s racial equity legislation, which the council passed in November.
The racial equity law mandates that all county employees go through racial equity training and creates an advisory committee with seven county representatives and eight public members.
The bill also requires racial equity impact statements submitted with all non-expedited legislation, starting Aug. 1.
Ward will be paid a salary of $150,000. Her position became effective immediately Tuesday after her confirmation.
During her interview before the council on Feb. 11, Ward said she would work with county workers and leaders to identify what aspects of county government are most in need of attention when it comes to racial equity.
“I’d love to see a countywide community engagement equity tool, so that would be one of the places I would start countywide,” she said.
Ward added that she will “lean on” and get input from the racial equity and social justice advisory committee that the bill created.
She said she has been talking with Diane Vu, the county’s director of the Office of Community Partnerships, about how to improve foreign language access for the county’s immigrant community..
Ward’s résumé says she has worked for the past year as the county’s racial equity program manager. In that position, she has worked with philanthropic and community organizations on how to improve the county’s racial equity efforts.
Ward worked as an aide to Elrich from 2007 to 2018 while he was a County Council member. She founded the teen program at the Kingman Boys and Girls Club in Washington, D.C., which provides recreational and work opportunities for students ages 5 to 18.
Navarro, who crafted the racial equity legislation, said during Tuesday’s confirmation vote that Ward has “always been a steward of ensuring” that the council understands the complex issues surrounding equity.
“I feel like the racial equity and social justice bill was kind of like a baby, and now that the baby has been birthed, it’s kind of like, ‘Here you go, Tiffany. Take it. No pressure,’” Navarro said.
Dan Schere can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org