Government Accountability Project Asheville

There are no meetings of either the Asheville City Council or the Buncombe County Commission this week (or next).

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1 YELLOW:

Things of concern, more information needed

Buncombe County still hasn’t shared a plan for tracking racial data

This issue was raised in our GAP reports on 6/17/24 and 6/24/24, and then updated in our Report Back on 6/27/24. Not familiar with what’s been going on? Visit the report and report back linked above. Are you up-to-speed on this issue? Read on below:

As we mentioned in our Report Back on 6/27/24, we are asking advocates for racial equity to join us in asking: Is Buncombe County committed to a comprehensive strategy to shift its culture and practices in the direction of being data informed, with an important emphasis on gathering racial demographic data for all of their programs? And if they are, when and how will that strategy be implemented?

We believe that the County needs to make an across-the-board adjustment, which can only happen if it is a County-wide priority that is overseen, organized, and led by the County Commissioners and the County Manager. It’s most likely that such a plan would emerge from the County Manager’s office, so we’re suggesting that folks reach out to her directly for answers.

Things to do

If you took action on this issue in the past few weeks, thank you. We invite you to join us in bringing this question directly to the County Manager.

Email the Buncombe County Manager and urge her to inform us and the whole community if the County plans to make a clear public commitment to prioritize the consistent tracking and disclosure of racial data on all County programs, and when we can expect details on how (and when) that will be achieved.

We have prepared an email template below that addresses this issue.

COUNTY MANAGER EMAIL TEMPLATE

You can send an email to the Buncombe County Manager by filling out the form below. Our email tool will send an individually addressed email to the recipient, and enable us to track how many emails were sent overall in the campaign. If you prefer to write your own email, you can copy and paste (and adapt) our template text – we ask that you send us a copy (cc: or bcc:, your choice) at info@gapavl.org so we can better track how many emails were sent.

To: avril.pinder@buncombecounty.org

CC: or BCC: info@gapavl.org

Subject: Is Buncombe County committed to consistent racial data collection?

Dear County Manager Pinder,

As you know, the Cease The Harm Audit described the County’s failure to consistently track racial data as a “key harm.” Do you plan to address this problem, and begin routinely tracking racial identity data about the beneficiaries of the many programs the County oversees or funds? If not, how will you be able to track progress (or lack thereof) in racial equity across County programs? And if so, when will you publicly share your plan for implementing these new practices?

Thanks for your leadership,