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Cville Council Postpones Hybrid Human Rights Commission Talk - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Cville City Council Postpones Hybrid Human Rights Commission Talk

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Charlottesville City Council decided to postpone discussions for a hybrid human rights commission until its second meeting in April. There will also be a public hearing on the issue so people can speak out about either option.

The controversial plan to form a human rights commission was front and center at Monday night's council meeting, as was an alternative proposal.

The ordinance as it is now does not give the proposed nine-member commission any enforcement power. But Councilor Dave Norris is presenting a cheaper option that would give the commission teeth.

The current proposal would cost $180,000 to support two staff members. Norris' amendment would bring in a contracted agency when needed, which would eliminate one of those two positions.

Under his hybrid approach, the human rights commission would have three working groups: one to address systemic and institutional discrimination, one to facilitate community engagement and dialogue and one to support the efforts and evaluate the results of an outside organization's discrimination enforcement program.

Some don't think this commission is necessary, and others who do say it needs to have power.

"This is a politically motivated idea and that's the problem. It's politically motivated and there are people here in this audience who I've known for years who are activists, and I can't blame them. This is where they want to go," said Robert Smith, who attended the meeting.

Suzanna Nicholson, who also attended the meeting, said, "Without the enforcement there will be no serious dialogue with offending employers. That's the bottom line."

At April's second meeting, council will also discuss better ways to deal with complaints that come from the county.

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