Melissa Hue was recently hired as Lewiston’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion. City of Lewiston

LEWISTON — The city has filled a staff position at the center of discussions last year over making Lewiston’s workforce better represent the diversity of its residents.

Melissa Hue has been hired as the city’s first director of diversity, equity and inclusion, and will lead Lewiston’s efforts on recruitment, as well as reviewing internal policies.

The city announced the hiring in a social media post early this week. Hue’s first day on the job was Aug. 19. According to the city’s announcement, Hue is a graduate of the University of New England where she earned a Bachelors in Medical Biology and a Masters in Public Health.

She’s served seven years in healthcare, including three at MaineHealth where she worked on accessibility to healthcare for vulnerable and marginalized communities. While there she became MaineHealth’s DEI ambassador as well as a co-chair of the organization’s BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) Care Team Network.

The new position in the Human Resources department was one of the main recommendations from Mayor Mark Cayer’s ad hoc Equity and Diversity Committee earlier this year.

Cayer said this week that he’s excited about the hire, and that Lewiston is “fortunate” to have Hue.


“This is an important time in Lewiston’s future,” he said. “Although as a community we have had growth around diversity, we should never forget when it comes to equity, we should be proud of where we are, but acknowledge we still have growth ahead of us. I look forward to watching and being a part of that growth.”

“I’m thrilled to have Melissa on board,” said Heather Hunter, interim city administrator. “She brings an artful mix of topical experience, strong work ethic, and engaging personality.”

Hunter said Hue’s initial focus will include “reviewing various policies for suggested amendments, facilitating training, assisting with citywide recruiting efforts, and providing community outreach.”

The DEI role has been embraced in recent years by the private sector, school districts and, increasingly, municipalities. In Lewiston, conversations over diversity and equity were given new attention following nationwide protests over the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.

In response to local protests and calls for an inward look at Lewiston’s policies, Cayer created the ad hoc committee as part of a City Council resolution on policing.

When announcing the committee, Cayer said it would make recommendations to the City Council on “steps to ensure that the city treats all residents and visitors equally and that its workforce represents our community’s diversity.”


In December 2020, the committee completed its recommendations, highlighted by a new Human Resources position that would be charged with “developing a city workforce representative of the demographics of the city; advancing equitable policies, training, practices and procedures; and ensuring that the city delivers services in an equitable and inclusive manner.”

The position was included in this year’s budget following some debate during budget talks in May. While some on the council questioned the cost of the position — $90,000 including benefits — many others defended it, arguing it is a needed step toward shifting the tone and culture across city departments.

Most of the debate stemmed from an earlier Finance Committee recommendation that called the position “unwarranted,” leading to strong reactions from several councilors and members of the Equity and Diversity Committee.

The Finance Committee recommendation said “no justification has been presented and it is these types of items that create consternation for taxpayers.”

At the time, Ayesha Hall, social emotional learning and equity resource coordinator for Lewiston schools, who also served as co-chair of the city’s equity committee, said her position in the school district “has made tremendous change,” and it’s “important to shifting the culture” in the city.

Hue was not immediately available for comment Wednesday.


According to the city’s announcement on the hiring, Hue has been a social justice advocate for many years.

“As a first generation immigrant from North Carolina, she attributes her passion for DEI work to her lived experiences,” the post said. “Melissa’s primary focus is to create and re-structure policies to become equitable and inclusive for all in hopes of providing impactful systemic changes for marginalized communities.”

She is also a member of the Planned Parenthood of Northern New England National Speakers Bureau.

Heather Theriault, the Human Resources benefits administrator, said Wednesday that the position “is a great addition to the city of Lewiston team.”

“I am both open to and looking forward to the changes this position will bring,” she said.

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