Pittsford supervisor diversity comment draws rebuke

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Pittsford Supervisor Bills Smith said his comments were narrowly focused

Pittsford town board member upset over supervisor’s comments on diversity.

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (WROC) — A comment about diversity made by Pittsford Town Supervisor Bill Smith picked up steam as it traveled around Facebook Friday.

The comment was made during a recent town board meeting.

Smith, a Republican, said, in part, “It has its own creed, it’s own liturgy, it’s almost like a religion, it has its own holy trinity: diversity, equity and inclusion. From my perspective, diversity everyone is supposed to look different and they’re all supposed to think alike.”

Town Board Member Kevin Beckford, a Democrat, took issue with the comment saying it’s not the first time Smith has expressed this kind of opinion and called this sentiment racist.

Smith told News 8 he was talking about certain diversity training programs, not diversity as a concept and those who welcome it.

“There are people who have fairly rigid views and if you have a different view you are considered to be not following the program and you’re opinion is devalued and I’m not saying I have been through any kind of training like that but I’m aware that it exists and I’ve seen the same stridency from people in town over the years, does that mentality exist in Pittsford? I’m sorry to say it does,” Smtih said. “Is that a majority opinion? No, it is not. It does not represent what most people here think.”

Beckford has helped lead an effort to encourage minorities to move to Pittsford and Friday said, “To be clear, I’m not calling Supervisor Smith a racist, but I’m suggesting that he harbors racist ideas that drives his actions and at times his inaction,” Smith said. A”s our Town Supervisor he has a tremendous amount of agency, position and power to create meaningful change. I’d like to see him take on more substantive actions and not just look to make performative symbolic statements.”

When asked if it’s OK to welcome diversity in the Town of Pittsford, Smith say yes.

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