West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James announced last week it was reappointing the city’s LGBT liaison, Robert Telford.
This will be Telford’s sixth term as LGBT liaison for the city. His first five years were under former mayor Jeri Muoio. He has been a West Palm Beach city employee since 2005.
“I am pleased that Robert Telford has agreed to serve in my administration as the City’s LGBTQ liaison,” said James. “West Palm Beach has long been at the forefront of LGBTQ equality and inclusion in the state of Florida. With Mr. Telford as a great resource, I look forward to continuing this legacy and to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality in West Palm Beach.”
Telford will act as a resource to the city leadership and community.
Under Muoio’s administration, West Palm Beach accomplished many things for the LGBT community. West Palm Beach scored perfectly on the Human Right Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index (MEI), a measurement of cities’ support for LGBT equality, in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
According to the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC), James did not apply to participate in the 2019 Municipality Equality Index. However, according to PBCHRC, James has “pledged” to participate in the MEI for the remainder of his tenure.
In April, West Palm Beach was also named one of the most accommodating cities in the nation, according to the senior housing referral site SeniorAdvice.com.
Other things the city accomplished under Muoio included:
● extended health insurance continuation coverage to city employees with domestic partners
● prohibited discrimination based on gender identity or expression in private and public employment, housing and public accommodation
● required city contractors to provide the same family benefits to employees with domestic partners and same-sex spouses as they provided to employees whose marriages are recognized by the state of Florida
● added an LGBT web page to the city's web site
● updated its health care plans to include trans care benefits to municipal employees
● enacted a ban on conversion therapy for minors
Telford also worked as a video production specialist for West Palm Beach.
"PBCHRC is pleased that Mayor James has finally appointed a liaison to our community," said Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. "We look forward to working with Robert once again."