Human Relations Commission

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There are eight human relations commissioners that are appointed by the Mayor of Reading, PA. Those selected must be residents of the City of Reading and serve a four year term. The commissioners take an active part in enforcing the laws. Under article 155 of the City ordinance.

155.04 Human Relations Commission

(a) There is hereby established in the Office of Human Relations, the Human Relations Commission to administer, implement and enforce the provisions of the article.

(b) The Commission shall consist of eight members each to be appointed by the Mayor for a four-year term. Commissioners may be reappointed to successive terms of office. Each member of the Commission shall continue to serve after his term until his successor has been appointed and qualified. Vacant seats on the Commission shall be filled within ninety days.

(c) The Commission shall elect one of its members as chairman and may elect such other officers as it may deem necessary. The Chairman may, with the approval of the Commission, appoint such committees as may be necessary to carry out the powers and duties of the Commission, and the Commission may authorize such committees to take any necessary action for the Commission.

(d) The Commission shall adopt such rules and regulations for its own organization, operations and procedures as the Commission shall deem necessary to administer, implement and enforce this article.

(e) The Commission shall hold at least four meetings during each calendar year. Three members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and a majority vote of those present at any meeting shall be sufficient for any official action taken by the Commission.

(f) The members of the Commission shall serve without compensation but upon resolution of City Council, they may be reimbursed for all necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in accordance with appropriations made by Council. (Ord. 4-68 Sec. 5. Passed 2-14-68.)

(g) In the event no Commissioner shall be able and available to exercise any of the powers of fulfill any of the duties of the Commission as set forth in Section 155.05 of this Ordinance, the Mayor may appoint one or more Commissioners temporarily to assume the powers and/or fulfill the duties of the Commission. Such appointment may be limited in duration of term in scope of the power and duties of any Commissioner so appointed. (Ord. 89-92 Sec. 1. Passed 8-26-92.)

155.05 Powers and Duties of Commission

The Human Relations Commission shall have the power and it shall be its duty to:

(a) Initiate, receive, investigate and seek the satisfactory adjustment of complaints charging unlawful practices, as set forth in this article.

(b) Issue subpoenas for persons and for documents which may be necessary to properly investigate a complaint of discrimination filed pursuant to this article. Commissioners may not be subpoenaed to testify, nor may a Commissioner be deposed or otherwise interrogated with respect to any action taken on behalf of the Commission. Any complaint filed under this subsection which the Commission believes may constitute a violation of a law of the United States of America or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may be certified to the City Solicitor for such actions as he may deem proper.

(c) Hold public hearings, subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance, administer oaths, take the testimony of any person under oath, and in connection therewith require the production of evidence relating to any matter under investigation or any question before the Commission, make findings of fact, issue orders and publish such findings of fact and orders and do all other things necessary and proper for the enforcement of this article.

(d) In the performance of its duties, the Commission may cooperate with and, if appropriate, contact interested citizens, private agencies and agencies of Federal, State and local governments, and enter into such agreements as may be necessary to formalize such relationships.

(e) Request other departments, boards and commissions of the City government to assist in the performance of its duties, and such other departments, boards and commissions shall cooperate fully with the Commission.

(f) Hold investigative hearings upon request by City Council in cases of racial tension and/or discrimination.

(g) Assist in the enforcement of fair practices in City contracts.

(h) Render from time to time a written report of its activities and recommendations to the Mayor and Council.

Meetings:  2nd Wednesday of Month@ 6:00 PM, City Hall, Human Relations Commission Office. 


Liaison:  Kim Talbot, HRC Coordinator, 610-655-6141


Mayor w/Council Approval7 members 4 year term 
James McDevitt09/23/2013  02/14/2017
Richard Spangler11/24/2014  02/14/2018
Richard Wagner01/12/2015  02/14/2018
Valerie Phelps-Robinson04/09/2012 05/09/201602/14/2020
Kathryn Amaker02/13/2006 01/10/201102/13/2014
Lisa Blount02/13/2006 06/09/201402/14/2018
Zelda Yoder08/10/2015  02/14/2019


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