Memo for fiscal year 2020, updated 2019-03-12

[Archived] Question #33: What would be the cost and benefits associated with creating a multi-lingual office or division of immigration affairs?


What would be the cost and benefits associated with creating a multi-lingual office or division of immigration affairs with the goal of enhancing “the economic, civic, and social integration of immigrant [residents]; facilitate access to justice for immigrant [residents]; and advocate for continued immigration reforms at all levels of government in order to eliminate inequities that impact immigrant communities"? (Councilman Aguirre)


The City of Alexandria started a Multi-cultural Services Initiative in 2001/2002 that was housed in the Department of Human Services (now DCHS). The focus at the time was on building relationships between the City of Alexandria and the residents of the Arlandria community. It was initially staffed with one person titled Multi-cultural Services Coordinator (MSC). Staff attended regular community events and offered outreach and education on all City services. Additionally, the staff person assumed supervision over the Hispanic Education and Outreach Program (HEOP) that provided ELL and other acculturalization classes to approximately 400 adult participants annually. The MSC also ensured all City departments had Language Access Plans that complied with Title VI. In 2009, during the recession, the HEOP program was cut out of the budget. The MSC position was never restored in DCHS.

Currently, in the City Manager’s proposed budget there is a new Race and Social Equity Officer position proposed. This position is at a Division Chief grade level (Grade 24, salary and benefits totaling $128,437). The focus is to advance race and social equity plans within City departments, conduct community outreach and build relationships with our black and immigrant communities. The goal is to review policies with a racial and social lens to make sure there are no deleterious impacts on Alexandria residents and to ensure current polices are revisited regularly to ensure all Alexandria residents are treated equitably. The benefits of engaging with our under-served communities will be in gathering more diversity of thought around polices that impact land use, transportation, affordable housing, the justice system, public and child welfare and many more. Although the initial cost is based on having one FTE, if the scope expands it may require proposing additional staff in the future. In particular, if there was interest in establishing one-to-one outreach with individual and facilitating connection to services meeting their needs, then additional staffing would be required. It is estimated that each additional position related to this effort would cost approximately $93,200 annually (salary and benefits) based on job specifications and duties.

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