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Mayor Jenny Durkan Nominates Human Services Department Interim Director Jason Johnson and Office for Civil Rights Interim Director Mariko Lockhart to Serve as Permanent Directors

SEATTLE (December 19, 2018) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced today she is nominating Human Services Department Interim Director Jason Johnson and Seattle Office for Civil Rights Interim Director Mariko Lockhart to permanent positions, pending confirmation by the City Council.

“Jason is a collaborative and experienced leader who has overseen the Human Services Department team as they have served Seattle’s children, seniors, people with disabilities, and families through the City’s many programs,” said Mayor Durkan. “Working together, we have made our homelessness response more effective and accountable, and as we continue down the path towards a regional structure and approach to the homelessness crisis, Jason’s continued leadership and support will be essential. I look forward to having Jason as the permanent director of the Human Services Department.”

“For her entire career, Mariko has proven time and again that she is committed to advancing equity across education, affordability and the criminal justice system,” said Mayor Durkan. “On my first day in office, I affirmed our City’s commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative, and to advancing equity through all of our work at the City. With Mariko at the helm of OCR, I am confident that the City of Seattle will continue to center the voices of our most vulnerable residents, and expand opportunity for our marginalized communities.”

“I want to thank Mayor Durkan for her continued support of the department and the opportunity to lead HSD on a permanent basis,” said Johnson. “In the last seven months, we’ve accomplished a lot – but I know we can do even more in the future to make Seattle a healthier, more vibrant, and more inclusive place. I came to HSD because some of the greatest minds and hearts work here to help people in need and address racial and social inequities. I am proud to partner with them, the community, and my colleagues across the City to that same end.”

Johnson began serving as Interim Director on May 2, 2018. In his role as Interim Director, Johnson helped oversee the largest emergency shelter and bridge housing expansion for people experiencing homelessness in the City’s history; coordinated with King County and community stakeholders to help lay a path towards a regional structure and approach to tackling the homelessness crisis; and oversaw a significant improvement in the City’s homelessness crisis response, with HSD programs helping 30 percent more households exit homelessness to permanent housing than in the same time frame in 2017. Johnson, a licensed social worker, has managed housing and human services at the City of Kent, Washington, and has a long tenure in the nonprofit sector managing housing programs for seniors, families, and people living with terminal illness or permanent disabilities.

“I am grateful to Mayor Durkan for her commitment to the Race and Social Justice Initiative and her support of the Office for Civil Rights’ critical work. Over the past year, our team at OCR has taken important steps to advance equity in Seattle, and I’m proud to continue this work as the permanent director,” said Lockhart. “Working with the Mayor, City departments, and our communities, I am confident that OCR will continue to lead the City in making lasting and comprehensive advances in racial equity and social justice that prioritize those who have been historically impacted by exclusionary government practices.”

Effective January 2018, Lockhart began leading the Office for Civil Rights. Under her leadership, the department has made critical contributions to the Mayor’s work to reform the City’s policies on harassment, discrimination, and other forms of misconduct, including participating in the Anti-Harassment Interdepartmental Team with the Seattle Department of Human Resources; has developed and held the 2018 RSJI Summit; and helped create the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights, among other significant achievements. She previously led the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative – Demonstration Cities for the Aspen Forum on Community Solutions working to connect young people with private sector employment, and served as the Director of the City of Seattle’s Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

In November 2017, the City Council passed Ordinance 125470, which requires the Mayor to solicit advice from Office for Civil Rights staff, the Seattle Women’s Commission, the Seattle Human Rights Commission, the Seattle LGBTQ Commission, and the Seattle Commission for People with disAbilities on an appointment of a director for the Office for Civil Rights. The Mayor’s Office had conversations with these stakeholders, as well as additional stakeholders from community organizations that work closely with OCR, before nominating Lockhart as OCR’s permanent director.