Omaha mayor appoints new Human Rights and Relations director

Gerald Kuhn previously served as HRR’s assistant director.
Gerald Kuhn has been appointed to be the City of Omaha's new Director of Human Rights and...
Gerald Kuhn has been appointed to be the City of Omaha's new Director of Human Rights and Relations.(Omaha mayor's office)
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 3:59 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2023 at 4:00 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Mayor Jean Stothert’s office announced the appointment of a new Director of Human Rights and Relations on Friday afternoon.

Gerald Kuhn is being promoted to the position, having been appointed to fill the post temporarily while the city conducted a national search; he had previously served as the assistant director of the department for five years.

Kuhn has also been the city’s Americans with Disabilities Director, where he “developed the successful Restorative Justice Diversion Program for misdemeanor arrests such as Resisting Arrest, Obstruction, and Disorderly Conduct, which has become a national model.”

Prior to that, Kuhn served as executive director of the Omaha Early Learning Center and the director of Vocational Services for Mosaic of Omaha. He also served as Director of Residential Services for the Detroit Housing Commission.

Kuhn replaces Dr. Franklin Thompson, who retired in July.

Dr. Franklin Thompson
Dr. Franklin Thompson(University of Nebraska-Omaha)

According to the release, Kuhn has his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in social justice and counseling. He also serves as a mentor for 100 Black Men of Omaha and volunteers as a coach. He has also been a board member for Boy Scouts of America, the Refugee Task Force, Jesuit Academy, and Metro Area Youth Services.

“I am thankful for this opportunity to serve the City of Omaha in this capacity. I will continue to build on the wisdom Mayor Stothert and my predecessor Franklin Thompson have passed down to me over the years and I will do my best to continue to provide the citizens of Omaha with quality services of the Human Rights and Relations Department, " Kuhn said in the news release from the mayor’s office.

Kuhn’s appointment is effective immediately at an annual salary of $156,062, an increase from Thompson’s reported salary of $151,507.

Department mission statement

“The Human Rights and Relations Department has four major responsibilities for the City of Omaha: Civil Rights Investigations and Enforcement Support Services, Economic Equity and Inclusion and Program Administration, Community Outreach and Education, and a Restorative Justice Program for people who commit misdemeanor offenses.

The department is primarily responsible for the investigation, elimination, and prevention of all forms of socioeconomic disparities and prohibited discrimination in the areas of housing, employment, public accommodation, and contracting based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, class or any other form of discrimination prescribed by ordinance or resolution. Other services to the community are provided at the discretion of the Mayor and the Director of the Department.

Towards its goal of ensuring equal opportunity and equitable access to those opportunities for all citizens of the city, this department additionally oversees the operation of two appointed boards: the Human Rights and Relations Board and the Civil Rights Hearing Board.”

City of Omaha Human Rights and Relations