As part of their response to local concern about structural racism and the Nazi-and-brass-knuckles tattoo, it would be useful for the city council to take two specific actions.

Add a paragraph on Fairness to the values section of the Statement of Mission, Vision & Values. It should specify a commitment to non-discrimination in the providing of services to the public by city employees and contractors, as well as in employee hiring and workplace conditions.

Adopt a city tattoo policy so that there will be uniformity and clarity for current and prospective employees and for supervisors and the administrative leadership team.

The purpose is to promote the public’s trust and confidence in the city and its employees, as well as to maintain employees’ professional appearance.

Here are pertinent provisions from three examples of existing tattoo policies:

Great Falls, Montana:

“Tattoos or body art displaying the following are prohibited at all times: racism; sexism or sexually suggestive or explicit; obscenity or profane; gang or drug related; undermining City or department values; political in nature.”

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina:

“Tattoos, brandings and body art deemed offensive are prohibited at all times— covered or uncovered both on-duty and off-duty. NO EXCEPTIONS.”

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:

“Tattoos will be deemed not allowable if they depict, represent, symbolize, or advocate any racist, sexist, or extremist material or ideas or contain any obscene materials or acts of graphic violence, drug, alcohol, or substance abuse. Tattoos may not depict any group, organization, club, unit, society, or similar entity which advocates for or supports any racist, sexist, extremist philosophies, unlawful violence, criminal conduct, or unlawful means of depriving individual rights under federal or state law.”

I hope these suggestions will be considered by the City Council, which has the authority to set policy.

Barbara Clark

Walla Walla