The practice or policy of discrimination against individuals by reason of race, sex, religion, color, physical handicap, age, place of origin, national origin or ancestry is a matter of concern to the city, since such discrimination threatens not only the rights and privileges of the inhabitants of the city, but menaces the institutions and the foundations of a free democratic state. It is hereby declared to be the policy of the city in exercise of its police power for the protection of the public safety, public health and general welfare, for the maintenance of business and good government and for the promotion of the city's trade and commerce to eliminate and prevent discrimination, segregation, and separation because of race, sex, religion, physical handicap, age, color, place of origin, national origin or ancestry. It is further declared to be the policy of the city to assure equal opportunities and encouragement to every person regardless of race, sex, religion, color, physical handicap, age, place of origin, national origin or ancestry in securing and holding without discrimination, employment in any field or work or labor for which they are properly qualified, to assure equal opportunities to all persons within this city to full and equal opportunities to all persons within this city to full and equal public accommodations, and to assure equal opportunities in housing without distinction on account of race, sex, color, physical handicap, age, religion, place of origin, national origin or ancestry.
(Ord. 2041, Sec. 1)
(a) There is hereby, created a board to be known as the Fair Housing Board to serve the citizens of Sterling in the administration and furtherance of the policy established herein. The board shall consist of one member of the city staff, one member of the city commission, and one citizen at large of the city, all to be appointed by the city commission. The board shall elect one of its members as chairperson, who shall preside at all meetings of the board, and perform all the duties and functions of the chairperson thereof. The mayor shall convene the first meeting of the board and conduct the election of the chairperson. The board shall elect one of its members as vice-chairperson, who shall act as the chairperson during the absence or incapacity of the chairperson, and when so acting, the members so designated shall have and perform all the duties and functions of the chairperson of the board. Appointments of new members to bill vacancies shall be made on an annual basis. The term of office of the chairperson and five-chairperson shall be for one year. The chairperson or vice-chairperson may resign from his or her office at any time during his or her term, and may do so without resigning from the board. In such event, the board shall elect another member to replace him or her, and such person shall serve the unexpired term of the person he or she replaces. A majority of the presently serving members of the board shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting the business thereof. The members of the board shall serve without compensation.
(b) The membership of the board shall be maintained on a basis that will give representation to a broad segment of the citizenry of Sterling, reflecting as broadly as possible, citizens of all economic standing, place of origin, national origin or ancestry, sex, and age. The board shall meet at least once each month, and if the business of the board so demands, more often upon the call of the chairperson.
(Ord. 2041, Sec. 2)
The board shall have the following functions, powers, duties, and responsibilities:
(a) Propose bylaws for adoption by the city commission for the purpose of organization and performing its duties; and further may adopt such rules of procedure and regulations as are necessary and suitable for carrying out the purposes of the board; provided such bylaws, rules and regulations, before they are effective, shall be approved by the governing body of the city.
(b) Endeavor to aid the city and its people in benefitting from the fullest realization of its human resources by development program proposals which can open the way for each individual, regardless of race, sex, physical handicap, religion, color, place of origin, national origin or ancestry and age; to develop according to his or her abilities without limitation.
(c) Make such studies and perform such acts as in the commission's judgment will aid in making effective the purposes of this ordinance, including but not limited to:
(1) fostering good will, cooperation and conciliation among groups and segments of the population of this city;
(2) studying the problems of discrimination or instances of discrimination because of race, sex, physical handicap, religion, color, place of origin, national origin or ancestry; and age;
(3) establishing policies, procedures and programs of education for proposal to the governing body of the city.
(d) Utilize volunteer citizen committees which in its judgment will aid in making effective the purpose of the ordinance to:
(1) foster through community effort or otherwise, good will, cooperation and conciliation among the groups and elements of the population of this city;
(2) study problems of discrimination in all or specific fields or instances of discrimination because of sex, race, religion, physical handicap, color, place of origin, national origin or ancestry, and age;
(3) recommend to the commission, human relations policies and procedures, and programs of formal and informal education which the commission may then recommend to the appropriate city agency. Such committees shall be composed of representative citizens, serving without pay.
(e) After obtaining the approval of the governing body as to the terms, covenants and conditions therein contained, the board shall be authorized to enter into contracts, agreement or memorandums of agreement with the Kansas Commission on Civil Rights, the Federal Equal Opportunity Commission, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development in order to carry out any and all assignments made through these agencies to the Sterling Human Relations Board. The board, with the approval of the governing body, may make application to any person, organization, city, county, state or federal governmental unit or agency, for funds to make effective the purposes of this ordinance. All funds shall be received and disbursed in the city.
(f) Cooperate with the Kansas Commission on Civil Rights and with other organizations or agencies, both public and private, whose purposes are not inconsistent with those of this ordinance.
(g) Receive, initiate, investigate, pass upon and attempt to conciliate all complaints alleging unlawful discrimination, segregation or separation in employ, public accommodations and housing in the city because of race, sex, physical handicap, age, religion, color, place of origin, national origin, or ancestry.
(h) In conducting an investigation, the board may, after due notice and seeking the cooperation of the persons involved, request access at all reasonable times to premises, records, documents and other evidence or possible sources of evidence, and may examine, record, and copy such materials and take and record the testimony or statements of such persons as are reasonably necessary for the furtherance of the investigation. In the case of the refusal of any person to cooperate and/or comply with request, the board may instruct the director to assist the complainant in filing with the appropriate state or federal agency.
(i) Regularly inform the members of the governing body, through distribution of its agendas, minutes, memoranda, reports, and other pertinent document, the items of business before the board the ongoing status of such items, and the disposition of such items.
(j) Render each year to the governing body of the city, a full written report of all of its activities and of its recommendation.
(Ord. 2041, Sec. 3)
A city staff member, appointed by and responsible to the city manager shall act as director and as an ex-officio member of the board without voting powers, and shall assist the board in the performance of its assigned duties. The appointment shall be based on the qualifications, fitness and merit of the applicant for the position. The employment of such additional personnel, full or part-time, as may be reasonably necessary to carry out the provisions of this article, may be authorized by, and their compensation fixed, by the governing body.
(Ord. 2041, Sec. 4)
The following procedures will apply in complaints alleging discriminatory practices filed with the Sterling Fair Housing Board:
(a) Any person claiming to be aggrieved by an alleged unlawful act or practice as defined by K.S.A. 44-1001 et seq., the Kansas Act Against Discrimination, Title VI, et seq., the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, or any other Federal Act, Law, Rules, Regulation or Executive Order pertaining to nondiscrimination may file with the board, a verified complaint, in writing, which shall contain such information as may be required by the board. All complaints shall be received by the director. The board upon its own initiative may in like manner, make sign and file such complaint.
(b) Upon the filing of a complaint, the director shall, within seven days after the filing of the complaint, serve a copy on each of the parties alleged to have violated this ordinance, and initiate a prompt investigation of the alleged act of discrimination. During the investigation of a complaint, the director shall have the same power of discovery in the name of the board as provided in section III (c) and (h) of this section.
(c) If the director shall determine, after such investigation, that no probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, he or she shall, within 10 business days from such determination, cause to be issued and served upon the complainant and respondent, written notice of such determination. This shall close the case; except that a complainant, who has filed a complaint, may appeal within 10 business days from the date of the service of such decision, a written request for hearing before the board or referral of the case to the appropriate federal or state agency. The request shall be granted by the board within 10 business days from the date same shall be filed. Upon hearing, the matter shall be determined by the board within 30 business days after the same shall be submitted.
(d) If the director shall determine after such investigation the probable cause exists for crediting the allegations of the complaint, he or she shall, within 10 business days from such determination, cause to be issued and served upon the complainant and respondent written notice of such determination. Such written notice shall propose conciliation and establish a schedule thereon. The director shall endeavor to eliminate the unlawful employment practice, or the unlawful discriminatory practice complained the by conference and conciliation. The complainant, respondent, and director shall have 45 days from the date respondent is notified, in writing, of a finding of probable cause to· enter into a conciliation agreement signed by all parties in interest. The terms of such conciliation agreement may include any provision and remedies for retroactive, present or future effect to eliminate the unlawful practice or act as set forth in federal and state guidelines. The parties may amend a conciliation agreement at any time prior to the date of entering into such agreement. Upon agreement by the parties, the time for entering into such agreement may be extended. The members of the board, director, and staff shall not disclose what has transpired in the course of such endeavors except as provided in section 8-405(f).
(e) If the complainant, respondent, and director are successful in endeavors under conference and conciliation, this shall close the case; except that a respondent who has had a probable cause .determination by the director may appeal the director's determination by filing within 10 business days from the date of service of such decision, a written request for hearing before the board. The request shall be granted by the board within 10 business days from the date same shall be filed. Upon hearing, the matter shall be determined by the board within 30 business days after the same shall be submitted.
(f) In case of failure to eliminate alleged unlawful acts or practices through conference and conciliation, the director shall notify the complainant and respondent, in writing, together with a copy of such complaint, as the same may have been amended that such efforts have been unsuccessful. Such notice shall also inform the parties thereto of the complainant's right to file with the appropriate state and/or federal agency; and that the director will assist complainant in filing same. The director may provide the state or federal agency with copies of the complaint and such other materials pertinent to the complaint.
(g) The director shall report to the board all complaints received, disposition of complaints, and the ongoing status of such complaints. Such report shall be presented by the director to the board at its regular monthly meeting, or at any other such times as needed or required. The director shall keep the city attorney informed of same.
(Ord. 2041, Sec. 5)
The provisions of this article shall be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the purposes thereof. Nothing contained in this article shall be deemed to repeal any of the provisions of any other laws of this city relating to discrimination because of race, sex, religion, physical handicap, color, place of origin, national origin or ancestry and age, unless the same is specifically repealed by this act. Nothing in this act shall be construed to mean that an employer shall be forced to hire unqualified or incompetent personnel or discharge qualified or competent personnel.
(Ord. 2041, Sec. 6)