For Immediate Release - January 30, 2007


Executive Order establishes Governor's Advisory Council to advise on best practices, clarifies decades of Affirmative Action directives

BOSTON- Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - Governor Deval Patrick today issued an executive order reaffirming the commitment of the Commonwealth to ensuring equal opportunity and promoting diversity in all aspects of state government - from hiring practices to providing services and drawing up contracts.

"This administration values and promotes diversity and equal opportunity for all individuals," Governor Patrick said. "This executive order reaffirms the Commonwealth's longstanding belief in equality and a fair chance for all individuals and our commitment to further those interests."

The policies spelled out in Executive Order 478 apply to all state agencies in the Executive Branch, including all executive offices, boards, commissions, agencies, departments, divisions, councils, bureaus and offices. All state agencies are directed to develop and implement affirmative action and diversity plans to identify and eliminate discriminatory barriers in the workplace; remedy the effects of past discriminatory practices; identify, recruit, hire, develop, promote and retain employees who are members of under-represented groups; and ensure diversity and equal opportunity in all facets, terms, and conditions of state employment. The plans must include specific goals and timetables for achievement, comply with all applicable state and federal laws, and shall be updated at least every two years.

The order also states:

  • Equal opportunity and diversity must be protected and promoted in all state, state-assisted, and state-regulated programs, activities and services.
  • All contracts entered into by the Executive Branch and its agencies must include provisions prohibiting contractors and subcontractors from engaging in discriminatory employment practices, certifying that they are in compliance with applicable state and federal laws governing fair labor and employment practices, and committing to purchase supplies and services from certified minority-owned or woman-owned businesses, small businesses, or businesses owned by socially or economically disadvantaged persons, or persons with disabilities.
  • The Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity and the Massachusetts Office on Disability shall oversee and monitor compliance with the executive order and applicable laws, establish guidelines for affirmative action plans, provide technical assistance, implement a complaint resolution process, and retain the authority to refer matters to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
  • Each secretariat and agency head shall appoint diversity directors and officers to coordinate compliance and submit periodic reports on the implementation and status of their efforts.

The order also establishes the Governor's Non-discrimination, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Advisory Council, a 15-member panel to advise Governor Patrick on best practices. The members will serve without compensation and at the pleasure of the governor.


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