Nominees chosen for Fayetteville’s new Civil Rights Commission

Seven nominees were chosen to serve on the city’s new Civil Rights Commission after a series of interviews held Wednesday evening in Fayetteville.

The interviews were conducted during the City Council’s Nominating Committee meeting, and included 15 applicants who each sought appointment to the new commission, which was created as part of the voter-approved Uniform Civil Rights Protection ordinance set to go into effect Nov. 7.

We weren’t able to attend the meeting, but Dan Holtmeyer was there and reports the following for NWAOnline:

The committee’s nominees are:

  • Candy Clark, a former justice of the peace and owner of C&C Services and All Around Self-Storage
  • D’Andre Jones, a Walmart recruiter and City Council candidate last year
  • Teresa Turk, a rental property owner who also works with the National Park Service
  • Rebekah Champagne, a rental property manager and massage therapist
  • Henderson Joseph Brown IV, a lawyer who investigates civil rights complaints for the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Chris Christoffel, a retired IBM manager who was the only woman at her engineering school
  • Benjamin Harrison, a volunteer with the For Fayetteville campaign in support of the ordinance

It’s now up to aldermen to approve or reject the committee’s choices. That decision will be made at the next regular City Council meeting on Nov. 3.

About the ordinance and commission

The new law prohibits business owners and landlords from firing or evicting someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Churches, religious schools and daycare facilities, and religious organizations of any kind are exempt from the ordinance.

Anyone asserting a claim of discrimination will be required to present their claim in writing to the city attorney, who will inform the Civil Rights Commission that a complaint has been received.

Informal and confidential mediation will be attempted by the city before any other enforcement measures could begin. If mediation fails, the commission will schedule a hearing to review the complaint and receive evidence. If the commission determines that discrimination has occurred, the violator will be fined up to $100 for the first offense. Subsequent violations will carry the city’s general penalty which calls for fines of up to $500. A violation will not be considered a misdemeanor or felony.

According to the new law, the commission shall consist of: two representatives of the business community; two owners or managers of rental property; one representative with experience in human resources or employment law; and two citizens at large, at least one of whom identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.