City of Asheville Announces New Equity and Inclusion Director

Sala Menaya-Merritt has 25 years of professional experience in government.

Sala Menaya-Merritt
Sala Menaya-Merritt has 25 years of professional experience in government.

Asheville City Manager Debra Campbell has announced that Sala Menaya-Merritt has been named as the city’s new Equity & Inclusion Director.

Ms. Menaya-Merritt officially began her duties on January 8. She will spend her first three weeks cross-training with current DEI Brenda Mills, who will retire effective January 31, 2024.

Sala has 25 years of professional experience in government, ranging from city, county, and state agencies. Her roles included the Diversion Services Program Manager with Buncombe County, the Organizational Development Administrator for the City of Savannah, Georgia’s Human Resources Department, and the Savannah Impact Director with the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. Earlier in her career, she worked in various community-based roles with Los Angeles and Hemet (also a southern California city).

Currently, Ms. Menaya-Merritt serves as the Impact Focus Area Administrator for the Community Reparations Commission, a contracted position in which she has worked closely with commission members and both city and county staff.

“The City’s Equity & Inclusion Department plays a vital role in helping to ensure our community is a safe, diverse, and welcoming place where everyone can thrive,” Campbell said. “We are confident that Ms. Menaya-Merritt will continue to build on the progress and strength of the Equity & Inclusion Department. I look forward to her leadership to continue momentum on several key initiatives that the Department of Equity & Inclusion currently have underway including the implementation of the Equity Action Plan and providing continued staff support to the Community Reparations Commission.”

“Ms. Menaya-Merritt’s background in local government, paired with her extensive network in the community and her proven track record serving in different capacities to support the Community Reparations Commission, have positioned her well to continue the important work of the Department of Equity & Inclusion. I’m glad that she was selected as my successor,” said Ms. Mills, the retiring director.

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