City of Davenport's Facebook post
Contributed art

Davenport lists a "perfect score" from the Human Rights Campaign for having inclusive municipal laws, policies and services for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and Queer, or LGBTQ, residents and staff. But upon closer look, some of the points received are not reflective of recent activity.

Xavier Persad, author of the Municipal Equality Index and legal counsel for the organization, said when it researches each city, it bases its scores on what's available on the day the research is done, with information supplemented by each municipality.

"We compile information from internal resources, websites and news articles," Persad said. "Draft scorecards are sent back to city mayors and managers for feedback and documentation. Once we've received their feedback, the final scorecard is sent back to them."

For the past three years, including 2017, Davenport has received 100 points on the municipal equality index, which rates from 0-100.

In the state, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids also received perfect scores this year. Out of the 506 cities measured, the average score was 57.

Yet, when searching for information about data scored in the report card, it appears points were awarded for activities that did not happen this year and some information was not published in plain view as required in the organization's guidelines.

Scott VanDeWoestyne, the city's inclusion and equity administrator, could not answer how Davenport fulfilled the requirements to receive points in each of the categories, though he was named as the contact person for the initiative by Mayor Frank Klipsch.

VanDeWoestyne said the only contact he had with the organization was to confirm he was the LGBTQ liaison within city administration, a role for which the city received points.

The city also is given credit for having a LGBTQ police liaison or police task force, but no information is readily available about that position.

Upon learning and confirming the information was not present, Persad contacted the city Wednesday, alerting them to the missing information and the need to follow the guidelines to receive credit.

"These individuals must be identified along with the contact information on the city website in order to receive MEI credit," Persad wrote in an email. "If the city's LGBTQ liaisons are not posted online, it will not qualify for credit next year."

The scorecard also rewards Davenport for activities that either did not occur this year or no longer apply.

Some are items like receiving points for having an openly LGBTQ elected or appointed municipal leader. Former 3rd Ward Alderman Bill Boom resigned in April after pleading guilty in federal court to the felony charge of providing a false declaration to a grand jury, yet the city received points for his presence.

Some items required further investigation, such as the city receiving points for providing services to each of the following groups: LGBTQ youth, LGBTQ homeless and LGBTQ elders.

In the past, the Civil Rights Commission received funding to provide these services, such as $6,000 used for LGBTQ youth services, but this year, such funds were not awarded to the department's budget.

Last year, the commission was able to allocate funds toward Quad-Citians Affirming Diversity because the organization needed rent money for a drop-in center for LGBTQ youth.

Civil Rights Director Latrice Lacey had taken the lead on the initiative in previous years, including verifying information, but she referred all questions to VanDeWoestyne and the mayor's office.

Lacey said she also informed Klipsch that she could not provide comment because of her concerns over the accuracy of the points.

1
1
2
2
2