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Commissioners working to ensure racial equity


As the nation grapples with a surging movement to confront racial equality and redefine policing, Bucks County Commissioners said they too want to continue improving racial equity in county offices and programs.

“We’ve brought more awareness and more inclusion,” said Diane Ellis-Marseglia, chairwoman of the three-member board, during a weekly virtual press conference last week.

The commissioners, she said, have been “more aggressive” in supporting the county’s human relation commission and bringing people of all races together. “The more people are together and learn about their differences, the more we see how similar we are,” added Marseglia.

County job applications are being reviewed and questions asking an applicants’ previous salary and if they have ever been arrested may be removed, said the chairwoman. The county is also advertising more broadly for positions, officials said, and conducting staff training to help employees recognize racial biases.

Bob Harvie, the commissioners’ vice chairman, said, growing up in Bristol, he saw racial diversity and learned that “proximity is the best way to foster diversity and better relations.”

Saying Bucks County is often thought of as three counties within one, Harvie encouraged residents to visit all parts of Bucks, from Riegelsville to Quakertown to communities in the northern part of the county.

“Go to towns you’ve not been to. The communities are much more alike than people may think they are,” said the commissioner.

Harvie also noted that an African American was recently appointed to the Bucks County Community College Board of Trustees. Dr. Broadus Davis is the first black person to serve on the board. A New American Committee is also being formed, said Harvie, to support the immigrant community.

Bucks County, said Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo, has “no place for hate or racism. We all get along really, really well.”