Secretary Salazar Issues Inclusive Workplace Statement to Employees

Diversity Plans Due September 30 under Implementation Strategy

Last edited 09/29/2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today issued an Inclusive Workplace Statement to all employees of the Department of the Interior and announced the appointment of John Burden as the department's new Chief Diversity Officer.

Salazar and Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget Rhea Suh also issued an Inclusive Workplace Strategy to leaders and managers making them accountable for implementing the strategy through action plans, directing that each bureau develop its own inclusivity and diversity implementation plan by September 30, 2010.

“This Inclusive Workplace Statement is a first for us. It means establishing a Department that ensures no one is shut out or left behind,” the Secretary told employees. “We are the Department of America. We represent the people of this country from Yosemite National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, Samoa and Guam, and the Virgin Islands. And as the Department of America, our ranks should reflect the face of the American public we serve,” he directed assistant secretaries and bureau directors.

John Burden
Chief Diversity Officer, John Burden

Burden, who helped devise the new inclusivity strategy, previously served at Interior as principal advisor to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Capital and Diversity and as deputy director of the Office of Civil Rights. Before that, he served as director of the Equal Employment Opportunity division at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“When we contemplate inclusion and diversity in the 21st Century, we should be talking about using multiple cultural backgrounds as competitive tools,” Assistant Secretary Suh said. “We need to recognize that differences of thought, background, education, marital status, experience, socio-economic status, occupation, language, and geographic location, in addition to other differences, contribute to employees' viewpoints. These varied perspectives are a key to creative thinking, problem solving, and decision-making. We must start seeing inclusivity as an advantage.”

“I am convinced that we have the necessary talent and leadership capability to make Interior an employer that engages people's differences as resources for creating higher performance and greater success,” Secretary Salazar emphasized.

“Supervisors and managers are expected to be role models who exhibit behaviors of inclusion, acceptance, and accountability. All employees are expected to adhere to our guiding principles of integrity, fairness, trust, ethical and legal behavior, and zero tolerance for discrimination,” the Secretary told employees. “Please join me in making the Department the best place to work in America.”


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