Omaha Mayor announces new Director of Human Rights & Relations

Photo: City of Omaha

(Omaha, NE) -- Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert appoints a new Director of Human Rights and Relations.

On Friday, Stothert's office announced that after serving in the role in the interim while a national search was conducted, Gerald Kuhn will succeed Dr. Franklin Thompson, who retired in July. Kuhn previously served as the assistant director of the department for five years.

The city says the Human Rights and Relations Department investigates discrimination complaints and civil rights violations, conducts community outreach to promote diversity, administers the certification process for the Small and Emerging Business program and monitors city contracts for compliance with the City’s economic inclusion requirements. The Department administers the Human Rights and Relations Board and the Mayor’s Commission for Citizens with Disabilities.

As Assistant Director, Kuhn served as the city’s Americans with Disabilities Director and developed the successful Restorative Justice Diversion Program for misdemeanor arrests such as Resisting Arrest, Obstruction, and Disorderly Conduct, which has become a national model. “Gerald shares our commitment to inclusion, equity and opportunity for everyone,” said Mayor Stothert. “He recognizes needs and develops solutions to benefit the Human Rights and Relations Department and make our community aware of the important services we provide to the citizens of Omaha.”

Kuhn has a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Master’s degrees in Social Justice and Counseling. He is a mentor for 100 Black Men of Omaha and a volunteer coach. He has also served as a board member for Boy Scouts of America, the Refugee Task Force, Jesuit Academy and the Metro Area Youth Services.

Prior to joining the Human Rights and Relations staff, he worked as the Executive Director of the Omaha Early Learning Center, Director of Vocational Services for Mosaic of Omaha and Director of Residential Services for the Detroit Housing Commission. "I am thankful for this opportunity to serve the City of Omaha in this capacity. I will continue to build on the wisdom 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 of the Human Rights and Relations Department, "said Kuhn.

Kuhn's salary is $156,062. His appointment begins immediately.

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