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MADISON — Wisconsin Department of Transportation employees are now being evaluated on just how committed they are to “diversity” and “inclusion,” according to a document obtained by Wisconsin Spotlight.

The Supervisory Guidance on Diversity PEPED Expectations notes that the agency is all about “creating and maintaining an inclusive work environment for all.” All DOT employees must “support and foster an inclusive work environment.”


One of the agency’s six overall performance expectations is Diversity. All employees are measured annually on the following example diversity expectations in the performance evaluation process:

  • Demonstrates respect for people regardless of race, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, national origin, etc.
  • Values differing viewpoints and opinions.
  • Actively seeks out/incorporates diverse groups into decision making processes.
  • Encourages and supports a diverse and inclusive working environment in the department.
  • Supervisors are expected to actively engage in the following activities to support diversity:
    • Create and maintain a work environment that is respectful and accepting of diversity and inclusion by setting clear expectations for behaviors and clear methods for reporting inappropriate behaviors.
    • Model a positive attitude regarding inclusivity through actions and words (e.g., having conversations about the importance of leveraging diversity in staff meetings, having conversations about equity and inclusion, discussions about providing service to all WisDOT customers, etc.).
    • Incorporate diverse perspectives into decision making (building an inclusive organization). Acknowledge and identify the skills and abilities staff have to contribute to the team.
    • Provide opportunities for staff to participate in diversity, equity and inclusion training/events. This could include participating in AAAC events, EAP webinars, watching online training modules or talks in team meetings, etc.
    • Hold staff accountable for behaviors that are exclusionary, offensive or illegal.
    • Recruit, hire, promote and maintain a diverse workforce.

So how does DOT measure success? The document notes a number of examples. A successful DOT employee and supervisor is someone who “works through difficult or awkward interpersonal situations in a positive manner.” Or focuses on “issues and interests instead of people or positions, even when personally attacked.”

It’s the latest in a string of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives pushed by Gov.

Tony Evers and his administration. Evers recently announced he was spending $50 million in federal COVID relief funds on his Equitable Recovery Program.  It would provide grants to “eliminate disparities and promote equity and inclusion,” according to an Evers press statement.

“I’ve done a lot of listening sessions around my district and I can guarantee you that I did not hear from a single person that asked us to spend $50 million on grants to eliminate disparities and promote equity and inclusion,” said state Sen. Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green), co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee.

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