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Michigan Civil Rights Commission Fails to Appoint Hollins Next Director of the Department of Civil Rights; Names New Candidate Search Committee

June 15, 2020

Lansing, MI—Tonight (Monday, June 15) the Michigan Civil Rights Commission’s vote on a motion to appoint Harvey Hollins as Executive Director of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights ended in a 4-4 tie, meaning the motion failed and Hollins will not become the next E.D. of the Department.

Hollins was the only remaining candidate for the position after Conrad Mallett, Jr. removed his name from consideration.

Voting in support of the motion to appoint Hollins were Commission Chair Stacie Clayton and Commissioners Ira Combs, Jr.; Laura Reyes-Kopack and Jeffrey Sakwa. Voting against the motion were Commissioners Zenna Elhasan, Regina Gasco-Bentley, Denise Yee Grim and Portia Roberson.

In the wake of the vote on Hollins, the Commission voted to establish a Search Committee comprised of Commissioners Elhasan, Grim and Roberson who will follow the process used in the previous search to identify and narrow the pool of candidates for the entire Commission to consider.

“The Commission’s decision tonight to restart the search for an Executive Director will allow us to find the right person to lead the department during this tumultuous period,” said Commission Chair Stacie Clayton. “Whoever is selected as Executive Director will be faced with challenges and opportunities unlike any we have seen in the Department’s recent history. It is important to every member of the Commission that we identify an individual who has the background, character and strength to lead the department through this period.”

The 65 qualified candidates identified in the previous search will be included in the candidate pool, and the Commission will re-open the position to new applicants. The Search Committee may at its discretion seek the input of individuals who previously served on the Civil Rights Commission and/or Departmental staff. Special Advisor to the Commission Sylvia Elliott will again assist the Committee on the selection process going forward.

The Search Committee will report on their progress to the full Commission at their next meeting scheduled for July 27, 2020. The time and location of the July 27 meeting will be determined at a later date and will be posted to the Department’s website,

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission was created by the Michigan Constitution to safeguard constitutional and legal guarantees against discrimination. The Commission is charged with investigating alleged discrimination against any person because of religion, race, color or national origin, genetic information, sex, age, marital status, height, weight, arrest record, and physical and mental disability. The Michigan Department of Civil Rights serves as the operational arm of the Commission.

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