The job advertisement was placed on Indeed for a Director of Equity and Inclusion. It reads in part: “This will be the inaugural position in creating an equity-focused team that will initially create a program for employees that will support and encourage equity in their internal and external business dealings, and will grow to encompass land use, planning decisions, technology considerations, and other business areas to extend the concept of equity.”
Port Authority CEO Katherine Kelleman said on Twitter that the position will be the first of its kind at the agency and will establish a new Equity and Inclusion Department.
This position will be the first (and begin the department) to help build and support an equitable transit agency, and regional partner. Please share. https://t.co/eZKYWEHXNJ— Katharine Eagan Kelleman (@ms_eagan) October 6, 2020
According to the job ad, the new equity director will analyze existing programs and policies and present recommendations for improvements or enhancements that promote and encourage equity throughout the Port Authority. The position will basically act as an HR consultant for equity issues and will ensure the agency follows best practices around “bias and inclusion with regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, protected veteran status, or disability.”
Recently, Port Authority has faced some criticism concerning racial and social justice issues. The union representing Port Authority employees have sued the agency over the policy that bars clothing, including masks, from having political and/or social justice messages like Black Lives Matter.
Transit advocates at Pittsburghers for Public Transit have also been critical of the agency for not implementing free-fares for some low-income riders, since those riders are still likely to need to travel for work during the pandemic, even as many higher-income riders can work remotely.