The Gilbert Human Relations Commission knows it faces opposition in its quest to bring a diversity officer to town, but is moving forward anyway.

A dozen commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday for a task force to prepare a 15-minute presentation for the Town Council’s meeting July 19.

The vote came after commission chairwoman Tami Smull said she has seen letters to the editor and columns by Gilbert residents in local newspapers against having a diversity officer. Town Council members and Mayor Steve Berman also have expressed concern about how to afford one.

First creating a diversity "function" in the town —whether that be a part-time employee or a committee of existing employees — might generate more support for an eventual full-time position, Smull said.

"I think making it function in Gilbert is my biggest hurdle," Smull said.

Other commissioners said the group should push first for a full-time diversity officer position before presenting alternatives.

"Sometimes you just have to take a stand," said commissioner Marian Stone.

Commissioners have said the officer would be a go-to person for diversity problems in Gilbert and an organizer for diversity events and training.

Two commissioners were absent and didn’t vote.

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