Kansas City’s Human Relations Department is updating its name to the Civil Rights and Equal Opportunity Department in an effort to renew focus on investigating civil rights violations and ensuring that inclusion, equity and diversity goals and training are part of all city operations.
City Manager Brian Platt announced the appointment of Andrea Dorch, JD, CPM, as the department’s director.
“Director Dorch brings a passion for the mission as well as top-notch organizational skills and experience to this position,” Platt said.
The renaming and appointment of Dorch comes just months after the Kansas City Star released a year-long investigation looking into rampant racial discrimination and lack of diversity in KCFD. After the investigation was revealed, city officials demanded accountability in the department and Platt introduced a six-point plan for KCFD to address the issues.
Dorch previously worked for the city in various roles for more than 17 years, and officially rejoined the administration in April 2021.
Dorch left the city briefly to serve as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Labor Standards Regional Director for Regions 6 & 7, overseeing nine states including Missouri and Nebraska. She holds a Juris Doctor and Master of Public Administration in Urban Policy from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. Dorch is also an alumna of Rockhurst University and a U.S. Navy veteran.
“Civil rights, economic inclusion, equity, and labor rights are the center of my vision for the department’s work,” Dorch said. “In this role, I endeavor to create a city where citizens have a discrimination-free environment in which to live, work and gather. We will do that by removing discriminatory restrictions in the marketplace and increasing the threshold for contracting opportunities to help ensure economic mobility for all our residents.”
CREO KC staff will enforce anti-discrimination laws, promote the Tenants Bill of Rights and advocate for greater accessibility to the city’s business programs. These programs include the minority-owned business enterprise (MBE) certification, woman-led business (WBE) certification, gender equity programs, and small local business (SLBE) programs.
In her first months on the job, Dorch has already started implementing improvements such as:
– Decreasing the time to process certifications for businesses
– Adding civil rights complaint filing to the new myKCMO app
– Increasing enforcement against firms defrauding the city in government contracting
– Working with fire and police departments to update diversity and inclusion policies
In addition to the new name, the public will soon see a revamped presence on the city’s website at kcmo.gov/CREO and an informational campaign to explain the department’s services for residents and businesses.