The Michigan Civil Rights Commission on Monday approved new leadership and swore in two new commissioners.
The panel also approved a timeline and process for selecting a permanent director for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR). The commission fired Director Agustin Arbulu in August amid sexual harassment allegations.
In November, Mary Engelman, acting Michigan Department of Civil Rights director (MDCR), was appointed as interim director. Sylvia Elliott, director of the department’s office of legal affairs, was appointed as a special adviser to the commission.
During its first meeting of 2020, commissioners unanimously approved Stacie Clayton to serve as chair for 2020. Laura Reyes Kopack was selected as vice chair and Jeff Sakwa was approved as secretary.
In addition, the commission swore in Zenna Faraj Elhasan, a Democrat from Dearborn, and Portia Roberson, a Detroit Democrat, to the commission. Elhasan succeeds Rasha Demashkieh and Roberson succeeds former state Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith, whose terms expired Dec. 31.
Elliott and the MDCR Human Resources staff, identified 26 qualified candidates from a list of 147 total applicants for director.
Commissioners will identify their top seven candidates by Tuesday, Feb. 4. The commission will hold a special meeting to interview up to seven finalists on Feb. 29.
At the end of the interview sessions, commissioners will identify and approve two finalists to invite for second round interviews for the commission’s regular meeting on March 23, where a new director will be chosen.