The city of Carmel moved its diversity training program in-house after city officials learned of two social media posts associated with Favorite Part of My Day, the entrepreneur selected in April to deliver training, which they found disturbing.
In an article, the Favorite Part of My Day Facebook account shared a tweet from the organization’s founder, Cassandra Porter, which said, “Giving white people the benefit of the doubt is #WhiteSupremacy’s deadliest tool. ” The other post, shared publicly on Porter’s personal account, is a photo showing a man surrounded by Nazi, Confederate, and Back the Blue (law enforcement support) flags with a caption that the flags all represent “the white supremacy through violence if necessary. Porter added in her own post that she believed the Trump 2020 and MAGA flags also symbolized the same thing.
“Basically she was calling our community white supremacists,” said city council chairwoman Sue Finkam, a sponsor of the April ordinance allocating funds for diversity training. “This is not acceptable, and there was no way for us to partner with this organization, which is disappointing, because to my knowledge she has a solid background in this space, but it does not correspond to the way we want to be represented in our community. “
Porter, who said he received threats about his work in Hamilton County, said Favorite Part of My Day agreed to terminate the contract because “the town of Carmel was not boldly supporting the project.” When shown the social media posts that city officials found disturbing, Porter said she asked how many other entrepreneurs who worked with the city were having their social media feeds researched and criticized.
“(The city representative) only got a response to demand that I delete the messages and retract my statement,” Porter said. My feedback was, ‘If you can’t support DCI’s work in the face of (adversity), Favorite Part of My Day is not the company to do this work with the city. “”
The posts have since been deleted from public Facebook feeds.
Finkam said a city employee alerted her to the social media posts and that she was “disappointed they weren’t spotted earlier by the city’s due diligence process.” She said the messages were “very upsetting for many of our employees.”
“(With the tweet) she alienated 80% of our population here, and with the other she alienated a quarter of our workforce,” Finkam said. “In between, there was no feedback on that, so we agreed to end the contract and take what we had done and move on.”
The contract between the city and Favorite Part of My Day was terminated in June. Carmel paid Favorite Part of My Day $ 43,000 for the work she had already done. In April, city council allocated $ 130,000 for diversity training.
After cutting ties with Favorite Part of My Day, city officials determined that one of the city’s new employees would be a good candidate to develop a diversity program and conduct training sessions. Timothy Knight, a former sergeant with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, had recently joined the City of Carmel’s human resources department to coordinate employee development, and Finkam said human resources manager Barb Lamb, realized that he had the skills and experience to develop and lead the training. .
Along with the additional responsibilities, Knight is offered to receive a new title and a raise. The 2022 budget, which has yet to be approved by city council, includes increasing Knight’s salary from $ 68,000 to $ 82,000 per year and changing his title from Employee Development Coordinator to manager of employee development and equity.
“He has come here at a time when our needs are changing and increasing,” Lamb told city council on Sept. 16. “(He’s) the person who has to step in and do the things we want. He was in the right place at the right time for us.
Finkam agreed that Knight was a good candidate to lead Carmel’s diversity training.
“We feel like we’re getting a better program from someone who knows our people better by being an employee, and we’re also saving money,” she said.