OMAHA, Nebraska – Mayor Jean Stothert’s office announced the appointment of a new director of human rights and public affairs Friday afternoon.
Gerald Kuhn is promoted to the position, having been appointed to fill the position temporarily while the city conducts a nationwide search; he previously served as deputy director of the department for five years.
Kuhn was also the city’s director of Americans with Disabilities, where he “developed a successful Restorative Justice Distraction Program for arrests such as resisting arrest, obstruction, and disorderly conduct that has become a national model.”
Prior to that, Kuhn served as Executive Director of the Omaha Early Learning Center and Director of Mosaic of Omaha Vocational Education Services. He also served as Director of the Housing Services Division of the Detroit Housing Commission.
Kuhn will replace Dr. Franklin Thompson, who retired in July.
Kuhn holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in social justice and counseling, according to the post. He also mentors 100 Omaha black men and works as a volunteer coach. He was also a board member of the Boy Scouts of America, the Refugee Task Force, the Jesuit Academy, and the Suburban Youth Service.
“I am grateful for this opportunity to serve the city of Omaha in this capacity. I will continue to build on the wisdom that Mayor Stothert and my predecessor, Franklin Thompson, have passed down to me over the years, and I will do my best to continue to provide the citizens of Omaha with quality services from the Department of Human Rights and Public Affairs,” Kuhn said. This is stated in the message of the city hall.
Kuhn’s appointment is effective immediately at an annual salary of $156,062, higher than Thompson’s reported salary of $151,507.
Department Mission Statement
“The Department of Human Rights and Relations has four primary responsibilities in the City of Omaha: civil rights investigations and law enforcement support services, economic justice and inclusion and program administration, community outreach and education, and a restorative justice program for people who have committed wrongdoing.
The Department is primarily responsible for investigating, addressing and preventing all forms of socioeconomic inequality and prohibited discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations and contracting based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability , marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, class affiliation, or any other form of discrimination provided for by decree or regulation. Other services to the public are provided at the discretion of the Mayor and the Director of the Department.
To achieve its goal of providing equal opportunity and equal access to opportunities for all city residents, this department additionally oversees the work of two appointed councils: the Human Rights and Relations Board and the Board of Civil Rights Hearings.”