At the regularly scheduled West Palm Beach City Commission Meeting on Nov. 7, Robert Telford, Broadcast Coordinator for the West Palm Beach TV Station and the Mayor’s LGBT Liaison, and Rand Hoch, Founder and President of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council gave a presentation on the City’s achieving 100 percent of the requirements for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Municipal Equality Index (MEI) for 2016.
In her opening remarks, Mayor Jeri Muoio thanked the presenters with special recognition of Telford for all the search and research work he had to do and she recognized Hoch for his work with the city since the late ‘80s.
Telford presented the details of the achievement in a PowerPoint presentation, listing the criteria for participation and the requirements that had to be met. The HRC Foundation invites target cities that meet their criteria regarding population size, recognition as a LGBT-friendly municipality, etc.
“We didn’t meet all the invitation requirements so we had to self-submit, which we did,” said Telford. “We actually achieved 106 criteria but can only be recognized for 100.”
There were a total of 506 winning cities nation wide. Six of them were in the Southeast and five of those were in Florida: Miami Beach, Orlando, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach and Wilton Manors. Atlanta was the sixth.
After Telford’s presentation, Hoch addressed the commissioners and praised the foresight and commitment to equality that has been a hallmark of the city’s “progressiveness and well-deserving of this recognition.”
Hoch complimented Telford, an 11-year employee of the city and 3-year Mayor’s LGBT liaison. “Robert became liaison in 2013 and launched this project as one of his first objectives,” Hoch said. “His success reflects his diligence and the city’s commitment to the cause of equality.