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Michigan Civil Rights Commission Appoints Mary Engelman Interim Director, Sylvia Elliott as Special Adviser to the Commission

Detroit, MI— Acting Michigan Department of Civil Rights Director Mary Engelman was appointed as Interim Director of the Department Monday night. Sylvia Elliott, director of the Department’s Office of Legal Affairs was appointed as a special adviser to the Commission. Both women were interviewed for the position of Interim Director last month. Engelman has served as the executive director of the Michigan Women’s Commission, deputy director of MDCR, and since August as acting director of MDCR.

“The Commission recognized that Mary had done an excellent job for us as acting director under unusual and stressful circumstances,” says Commission Chair Alma Wheeler Smith. Her experience in administration and budget, as well as her familiarity with the personnel and current initiatives of the department allowed us to keep on an on even keel. We saw no reason to take her out of a position where she has done yeoman’s service.”

Elliott has worked with the agency for 22 years – a key asset for Wheeler Smith.

“We felt it would helpful to have an adviser to assist us in the process of searching for a new executive director,” she said. “It was important to have some one with Sylvia’s depth of experience and deep understanding of the department provide advice.”

Elliott will also assist the Commission with the strategy of initiatives it might undertake.

The Commission also approved a job description and posting schedule, as well as a process by which it will select a permanent executive director. Beginning Nov. 19, the posting will be open for four weeks. Commissioners hope to have the position filled by February of 2020 The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination.

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights, the investigational arm of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, is charged with investigating and resolving discrimination complaints and working to prevent discrimination through educational programs that promote voluntary compliance with civil rights laws. The Department also provides information and services to businesses on diversity initiatives and equal employment law.


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