Zeriah Folston hired as City of Gainesville Interim Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director

Zeriah Folston speaks to the City Commission on September 2, 2021


An employment agreement for Zeriah Folston as the City of Gainesville Interim Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director was included in the consent agenda for the Gainesville City Commission’s September 2 meeting. It is common to include a candidate’s resume and other documents that are considered during a hiring process on the consent agenda, but only the employment agreement was included.

Folston previously worked as the Policy Oversight Administrator at the City, and he replaces Acting Director Sylvia Warren, who was previously the Equal Opportunity Manager. When Former Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Teneeshia Marshall resigned in May, commissioners said they expected the Interim Director to be in the position for some time because they want to develop a community engagement process for hiring a permanent Director.

The interim position pays $142,158.00 plus a $450/month car allowance and standard benefits. Gainesville City Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos objected to the car allowance because he doesn’t think the City should promote personal car use, but he didn’t request that the item be pulled from the consent agenda. During public comment on the consent agenda, Nathan Skop requested that the item be pulled from the consent agenda to discuss Folston’s employment agreement, but no motion was made to do that. The vote to pass the consent agenda failed, causing Mayor Lauren Poe to immediately call a 5-minute recess. When the commissioners returned, they made a few changes to the consent agenda but did not pull Folston’s contract from the consent agenda. The modified consent agenda passed 5-1, with Hayes-Santos in dissent.

Just three days before Marshall submitted her resignation, the Commission voted to give her a raise of $56,500, which took her salary from $131,950.45 to $167,700 with back pay from January 2021. So Folston is starting at a higher salary than Marshall had for most of her time with the City. The City’s minimum pay for that position is $129,000.

  • $142,158 + $450×12 = $147,558 + benefits
    Median Gainesville, FL pay $20,457 (2019)
    SO about 7X median! (many jobs in Gainesville have no benefits)
    Very equitable!

    • That’s a lot of money, but is it really Equitable? They should have hired a transracial white
      Person…you know, a white person that identifies as a black person…that’s real equity,—instead, we got BS equity…they are not
      Equitable to our “trans community”. No special
      Pronouns needed… you can identify us with plenty
      Of dumb looks.

  • The only thing that mattered to the commission was which ethnicity the candidate identified with.

    Still waiting on some distracted Uber driver to assist with the idiot Hayes-Santos.

    All you other idiots – keep on believing…

  • This is a prime example of how the city of Gainesville has no respect or care of city taxpayers. This is a phoney woke job so the politically correct crowd can make themselves feel better. No wonder Gainesville is one of the most expensive cities in Florida to live in. These woke commissioners and especially the Mayor don’t give a damn. These are California wannabes.

  • I will do the job for FREE! If it’s city workers I enforce equity rules, or the general city public, I will work free. I’ll start by removing all references to race on job applications, use initials for their names (so ethnic names won’t allow discrimination). That way only an applicant’s formal education, pertinent experience and valid job references would matter. And nobody would be hired due to skin color or political connections.

    • exactly what sort of education & experience does the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director need? What’s the performance metrics? (how is success measured?) What goals are they required to meet to achieve a good HR annual performance review?
      How does this job help / impact a city resident? (example: reduce street gun violence / drive-by shootings / child murders)
      By comparison
      – GPD Patrol Officer $46K – $62K (+ car)
      – the average starting pay for an Electrical Engineer is $80,000 (CNBC)
      – The typical home value in Gainesville (area) is $236,819 (Zillow)

  • Just wait until they start giving out Black Reparations to those with Special Racial Privileges (or did that already happen?)

  • What’s really sad is Mr Folston doesn’t even recognize the plantation owners he is now employed by. I guess if you’re given enough acreage and mules you’ll submit to anything.

    I guess you have to believe in something…

  • > $2,700 a week plus an exotic car allowance to be a snappy dresser!

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