Asha Smith, previously the county’s Equal Opportunity and Human Relations Officer, will helm the new office and continue the commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
On July 11, 2023, County Executive Pittman announced the appointment of Asha Smith as the new Director of the Office of Equity and Human Rights (OEHR), which was created to further support the county’s development of policies, programs, and procedures that prioritize equity, diversity, and inclusion.
“Embedding equity, diversity, and inclusion in the functions and procedures of our local institutions is now more important than ever,” said County Executive Pittman. “I look forward to Asha’s leadership as we continue to make Anne Arundel County the best place for all.”
The OEHR is charged with ensuring equal access to the rights and privileges of living, working, visiting, and doing business in Anne Arundel County. The office will coordinate the county’s compliance with federal, state, and local equal employment opportunity laws; and manage complaints of discrimination that are made against the county and its departments. It will also provide support to quasi-governmental agencies and partners in establishing and maintaining best practices to deliver services and conduct operations equitably.
Smith brings over fifteen years of experience as an attorney and human resources professional, specializing in anti-discrimination, disability, and employee leave laws. She recently served as Anne Arundel County’s Equal Opportunity and Human Relations Officer. In that role, she coordinated the county’s language access program, conducted fair housing and equal employment opportunity investigations, and ensured countywide compliance with equal opportunity and anti-discrimination laws.
“The establishment of this new office builds on the work that so many have done to ensure that every resident of this county has access to the opportunities and resources that it offers,” said Asha Smith. “From Brooklyn to Shady Side, people from innumerable backgrounds call this beautiful county home. It has a rich history, and we are adding to that legacy.”
Smith earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Cornell University. She received her law degree from the New York University School of Law and started her legal career as a staff attorney in the law enforcement bureau of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. While serving as a staff attorney, she investigated and resolved alleged violations of the city’s anti-discrimination statute in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations.
The OEHR is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Assistant Director. Interested applicants can view the job posting and apply here.