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Gainesville Equal Opportunity

Gwendolyn D. Saffo Interim Equal Opportunity Director


Candasy Young Equal Opportunity Office Coordinator


Sue DeBose Equal Opportunity Technician


Tom Bledsoe Equal Opportunity Specialist


Sylvia Warren Small & Minority Business Program Coordinator

Equal Opportunity / Diversity Advisory Committee (EO/DAC)

  • Margie Allen
  • Yvette Carter
  • Michael Chappell
  • Michael Dybevick
  • JoAnn Hutcherson
  • Patrice Kafle
  • Eugene Nelson
  • JoAnne Rice
  • David Richardson
  • Lonnie Scott
  • Russell Stiriz
  • Enrique Vega

Gainesville Human Rights Board (HRB)

  • Jerry Rivera, Chair
  • Carl Ramey, Vice-chair
  • Jeremiah Tattersall
  • Jeff Saunders
  • Jason McLean
  • Belinda Smith
  • Charles Goston

Citizens’ Disability Advisory Committee (CDAC)

  • Mark Mayfield, Chair
  • Maxine Stallings, Vice-chair
  • Lovetta Smith
  • Sherry Wetzel
  • Jeff Saunders
  • Rita Puentes

A Brief History

The City of Gainesville enacted an ordinance prohibiting discrimination within the City of Gainesville on the basis of: race, color, gender, age, disability, religion, national origin and marital status in the 1970′s. On June 1, 1998, the City Commission added sexual orientation to the classifications protected by the ordinance.


Chapter 8 of the City’s Code of Ordinances protect residents in these classes within the corporate limits of the City of Gainesville and the Office of Equal Opportunity enforces, files, processes and hears complaints of discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and credit.

  • If the complaint concerns employment, there must be five or more employees
  • Any non-housing related complaint must be made within 180 days
  • Housing related complaints must be made within one year
  • The alleged discrimination must occur within the Gainesville City Limits
  • The complaint cannot be against another governmental agency

City Discrimination Ordinance

The city commission declares the policy of the city to be, for the protection of the public health, safety and general welfare, for the maintenance of business and good government, and for the promotion of the city’s trade, commerce and manufacturing, to prohibit discrimination in the access to and equal enjoyment of places of public accommodation, to ensure equal opportunity to all persons to live in decent housing facilities, regardless of sexual orientation, race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, marital status, disability or gender identity and to that end to prohibit discrimination in the extension of credit without regard to sexual orientation, race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, marital status, disability or gender identity and to prohibit employment discrimination against persons because of sexual orientation, race, color, gender, age, religion, national origin, marital status, disability or gender identity that do not constitute bonafide occupational qualifications.

Small Business Mentoring Initiative

The City of Gainesville, Office of Equal Opportunity is recruiting established business owners to mentor small business owners who desire to grow and develop their businesses.

This program is designed to allow small businesses to be trained by larger more mature businesses in order to enhance all aspects of their business operations.

The Office of Equal Opportunity will be hosting a launch event where you will meet prospective Mentors, Mentees, City Staff, as well as Small Business representatives from other agencies. You will also have an opportunity to hear more information about our program! Please join us in celebrating this new initiative!

RSVP For Small Business Mentoring Launch Event
Date & Time: WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2014 AT 6:00PM
Location: Gainesville Regional Utilities Building. 301 SE 4th Ave. Gainesville, Fl.
Please RSVP by November 26, 2014.
Ways to RSVP: Email Sylvia Warren: warrensd@cityofgainesville.org OR contact our office at (352) 334-5051 ext.8481

Dismantling Racism Initiative

In 2010, the Gainesville City Commission adopted the Dismantling Racism Initiative as an effort to address the issue of racism, particularly institutional racism, and the centuries’ long impact of such a phenomenon. A group of community citizens, known as the Dismantling Racism Change Team was formed in 2007 to carry the city’s torch in this great endeavor.

The first activity of the Initiative was the creation of the study circle concept of community dialogue. The critical aspect of this type of activity is the recruitment of citizens to participate in the study circles. The EO office has used a variety of methods to recruit citizens, such as a film festival, and a community forum on prejudice and bias. Once citizens are assigned to a study circle, they agree to meet with 10-12 other participants for five weeks (one night per week), to discuss pertinent and personal aspects of race, bias and prejudice.

As each round of study circles conclude, citizens are invited to participate in larger groups known as action forums. Each action forum consists of a mixture of persons from the various study circles, and is distinguished by subject matter such as education, health, economic development, criminal justice and transportation. The goal of each action forum is to address matters that may exist in Gainesville as a result of discrimination, institutional or otherwise. Resolution of these issues may be via petition to the city commission, county commission, school board, or other policy making entity in Gainesville or Alachua County.

Note: Documents are presented in Portable Document Format, which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view or print. Acrobat Reader is free and available for download from Adobe’s website.

Dismantling Racism – Study Circle Application
Dismantling Racism – Press Release

Gainesville Mentoring Initiative

The Gainesville Enrichment Mentoring (GEM) Program recruits dedicated mentors from the City’s workforce, community advocacy groups, fraternal organizations, community associations, city and county governments, business organizations, and churches to provide one-on-one mentoring to middle and high school students for at least one hour each week. Non-union represented city employees who participate as mentors in the GEM Program are granted one hour of leave each week for that purpose.

Low income and at risk students enter the program at the 7th grade level and remain until graduation from high school, at which time they are awarded free 2-year community college scholarships. The GEM Program is housed in and operated by the City’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO).

For more information regarding the GEM Program, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity at (352) 334-5051.

Gainesville Is READY!

The Gainesville is READY! Initiative focuses on children with early reading deficiencies as they are far less likely to graduate from high school, become effective citizens, and develop skills essential for contributing to the 21st century economy. Ensuring that children are proficient readers by the time they enter fourth grade is a strategic point of intervention for addressing education, community health, public safety, poverty and economic development goals.

The Office of Equal Opportunity carries out this function pursuant to Strategic Initiative 3.4 of the City’s Strategic Plan, which goal is to “facilitate broader community support to improve educational opportunities for City youth.”

The City, through the EO Office, partners with many different nonprofit organizations to promote literacy through a plethora of activities such as the Children’s Book Drive, the Children’s Free Book Give-away at the Library Partnership Resource Center, and the City’s Read Out Loud program, which is held every third Saturday of the month, where 3 and 4 years olds are taught the joy of reading.

For more information regarding the READY! Initiative, please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity at (352) 334-5051.

Small Business Procurement Program Application

Small Business Procurement Program (SBPP)

Local small businesses support the City of Gainesville's overall economic development and the City is committed to their success, growth and development. To help these businesses be more successful, the City has adopted the Small Business Procurement Program (SBPP). The program provides significant opportunities for qualified local small businesses to participate on a nondiscriminatory basis in all aspects of the City's contracting and procurement programs as well as providing other needed business services.

What does SBPP offer local small business?

  • Bid documents available at no cost or at a discounted price
  • Maximum opportunity to participate in City contracts as prime contractors, subcontractors and materials suppliers.
  • Listing in City's Qualified Local Small Business Directory
  • Technical assistance in preparing bids
  • Other resources and services to promote business growth

Who are the ideal candidates?

  • Be located within the corporate limits of the City of Gainesville
  • Pay required Occupational License taxes
  • Have less than 100 employees
  • Have a net worth of less than $3 million and an average net income of less than $2 million (after federal income taxes, excluding carry-over losses). For sole proprietors, the $3 million net worth includes personal and business investments.

How to get your business qualified?

  • Your Business's principal location with full-time employees must be located within the corporate limits of the City of Gainesville and have a valid Occupational License. Occupational License information: (352) 334-5024
  • Your business must meet the size requirements: Fewer than 100 employees and have a net worth less than $3 million and an average net income of less than $2 million.
  • Complete the Small Business Application and return to the SBPP Office. Small Business Application
  • On the form, you will need to identify commodity/services codes for goods and/or services your business provides. Please contact the SBPP office at (352) 334-5051 for assistance with these codes.
  • The City of Gainesville utilizes direct deposits for goods and services purchased from your company, please complete the Vendor Application available at http://www.cityofgainesville.org/budgetfinance.aspx as well as the Local Small Business Application and return to the SBPP Office.
Small Business Procurement Program Application

City of Gainesville Small Business Listing

NIGP Lookup

The City of Gainesville is dedicated to training all City employees in areas pertinent to Equal Opportunity policies. It is the City’s belief that through committed effort of education that the incidents of discrimination and harassment will decrease over time.

Equal Opportunity Orientation

This four-hour course for new employees is designed to give the employee an overview of the City’s equal opportunity related policies. Specific attention is given to EO Policies 4 and 5, which cover discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation. In addition, employees are given a broad perspective on the issue of diversity and how it impacts the workplace.

Preventing Harassment Training

This two-hour refresher course is designed to ensure that all employees completely understand their rights and responsibilities regarding discrimination, harassment and inappropriate conduct. Certificates of completions are issued upon completion of this training. This training is provided to the entire workforce every even-numbered year.

Operational Diversity Workplan Training

This three-hour course is designed to assist managers in understanding the City’s Affirmative Action Plan and provides them the information necessary to successfully complete their annual departmental/division Operational Diversity Workplans. The components of the workplan include: Community Outreach, Organizational Development, Recruiting, Employee Development and Purchasing.

Diversity Awareness

This four-hour course is designed to provide all employees a broad perspective on the issue of diversity and how it impacts the workforce. Specific attention is given to: (1) making a positive impact on hiring, (2) ensuring better communications, (3) being sensitive to all of our differences, and (4) improving interpersonal relations. This training is provided to the entire workforce every odd-numbered year.

A Policy Is Not Enough

This three-hour course is designed for managers and taught by the City Attorney’s Office. In this course, managers are given scenarios containing potentially harassing conduct and/or inappropriate behavior. Specific attention is given to ways in which they would identify the problem and actions they might take.

Customized Training

These courses are provided to meet specific Equal Opportunity related needs of City Departments’ and other organizations as identified or requested.

Please visit our Contact Us page to sign you and/or your team up for training or for more information.

222 E. University Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32602

Hours: Mon – Thu 7:00 am – 6:00 pm

Phone: (352) 334-5051

Fax: (352) 334-2088


From downtown center (Main and University) head one block east to NE 1st St. Our building is on the block between NE 1st St. and NE 3rd St, east of the bridge in the center of the plaza. If you are passing NE 3rd St. you’ve gone too far.

Filing A Complaint

Form Available Here:

Preliminary Intake Form

Please print and mail, fax, or bring the Preliminary Intake Form to the Office of Equal Opportunity, no later than 180 days after the incident. If the form is received after the 180th day, the Office of Equal Opportunity will be unable to accept it, and will not be able to pursue the complaint pursuant to City of Gainesville ordinances and policies.


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