[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida - April 13, 2011 6pm
Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor expressed his unhappiness Tuesday, April 12, saying that there was visibly a majority of Hispanic men on Tallahassee construction sites, and no Black workers.
The project manager for one of those sites says his company and the City of Tallahassee are fulfilling all obligations.
"When you pass the site, an area that's 98 percent Black, when you see 100 percent Hispanics, it just stands out." Proctor said.
Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor made it clear that he feels the City of Tallahassee favors Hispanics because he's never seen Black men working on the Emory Court/Dupont Drive Flood Relief Project near Wahnish Way.
Project Manager David Ward says you can't judge the site at a glance. He said, "They [the black men] come and go. It just depends on what scope of work they're doing. They might be driving a tractor; they might be driving a dump truck for us. But, they're coming and going from this project."
Ward says his company, Allen's Excavation, subcontracts out 35 percent of the $6.2 million project.
He says as required by the City of Tallahassee, 7.5 percent is sub-contracted out to a Black contractor, and three percent to a female contractor.
"We don't have any control over who they hire." Ward said.
Ward says on the Wahnish Way project, he believes there are maybe 6 Black men, 12 to 15 Hispanics, and no females.
Commissioner Proctor said, "When it comes to labor, common labor, there's a problem in job after job site you don't see Blacks; you see Hispanics."
Ward said, "Allen's Excavation has always been proud of their working relationship with the minority contractors in this area. We've spent over 25 years working with the minorities, whether they're Black, female, or Hispanic. We feel like we have an excellent track record."
Ward points out that the Wahnish Way project is only two months into the 14-month job.
Hale Contracting Inc., Midway, is the Female Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) for the project.
The City says the company is receiving $188,188 for trucking and hauling.
The owner, Christi Hale, says workers on the Wahnish Way job site are all Black men.
Hale released the following statement in response to Commissioner Proctor:
“Hale Contracting, Inc. is a Certified Minority and Disadvantaged Business and only employs persons that meet all requirements mandated upon small businesses. E-Verify being one of those, which is required for all current and new hire employees. In addition, all employees must pass pre-employment and random drug testing.
Hale Contracting, Inc. has an active and approved EEO/AA Policy. Our current employee ratios are as follows: 36% black males, 7% white females, and 57% white males.
As a small business that performs specialized work items in the construction industry, Hale Contracting hires and employs the best persons suited for open positions, based on their experience, knowledge, skills and abilities, certainly not by their race or gender.”
Proctor had the same concerns about the project on Bronough Street.
That project manager says that he did not care to comment, and the contracted company's owner, M of Tallahassee, never returned our calls.
[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida - April 12, 2011 6pm
Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor is lashing out against the City of Tallahassee and the make-up of workers on their construction sites.
Commissioner Bill Proctor used Tuesday's anniversary of the start of the Civil War to make his point that black laborers are now being overlooked.
He says Hispanic men are gaining favor when it comes to these jobs because the City of Tallahassee is doing business with contractors who hire Hispanic laborers almost exclusively.
The sign on site says "Men Working."
The problem for Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor is the racial makeup of those men.
"90-something percent are Hispanic." He said.
Commissioner Proctor says when you look at the construction site on Wahnish Way, you mainly see Hispanic men.
Proctor said, "In the middle of an area where black people pay nearly 90-something percent of the mortgages, 90-something percent of the rents, 90-percent of the utility bill payments and they're paying 90-something percent of property taxes. Yet, there are no African American workers working."
Proctor says the same goes for the Water and Rehab project on Bronough Street.
But, City of Tallahassee administrators point out that 7.56 percent of that nearly $1,298,179 project is going to Black owned firms, and 3.06 percent to female owned firms.
In the flood relief project near Wahnish Way, $188,188 of the $6.2 million project is going to a female-owned business and $470,470 is going to a black-owned business.
Michelle Bono, Assistant to Tallahassee City Manager, said, "We feel like we're doing a good job of being sure that we get great representation from vendors. The other great news is that the vendors, those two as well as the primary vendor, are all local vendors. Those are local jobs in Tallahassee, and we think that's good news."
Proctor says it's not enough that the leaders of the companies are black...African American men need the jobs on the ground level as well.
He said, "One hundred fifty years after the launching of the Civil War, we have not progressed to the extent that five men can hold jobs as elected officials, but, we can't find five men to hold a shovel in a ditch in a ditch-diggers job."
We did talk to the President for a company that is currently working on a city road project, Allen Weldon with Allen's Excavation, Incorporated says they sub contract out specialty work on many of their jobs to South Florida companies.
He says he does not have a racial breakdown on those workers.
Proctor says he will ask the city attorney to issue a cease and desist for the two job sites.
The following is information provided by the City of Tallahassee:
The Emory Court / Dupont Drive Flood Relief Project is a $6.2 million effort to provide significant flood relief to citizens on the city’s southside. It should be finished by June 2012 and encompasses an area west of Wahnish Way between Orange Avenue and Bragg Drive.
MBE Participation includes:
Unique Concrete, Tallahassee, (Black Minority Business Enterprise or MBE) $470,470 – Concrete work
Hale Contracting Inc., Midway (Female MBE) $188,188 – trucking/hauling
The primary contractor for the project is Allen’s Excavation, Inc., a firm located on Woodville
Highway, that has told the city they have met or exceeded MBE goals for every city, Leon County and State of Florida Job they’ve been awarded. This includes the city’s criteria for the Emory Court project of 7.5 percent MBE and 3 percent female. Allen’s Excavation is also currently doing city stormwater project work in Frenchtown where their DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) utilization is 21 percent. Allen’s told us their own workforce is as follows:
On the Bronough Street Water and Sewer Rehab project, the General contractor is M of Tallahassee and the total contract amount is $ 1,298,179. The MBE Participation is as follows:
Black Firms at 7.56%
Construction Support South East Trucking/lime-rock/labor $51,000
Gaines and Sons sodding/asphalt-patching/temp striping $47,200
Females at 3.06%
Rippee Construction Concrete $6,000
Baldwin asset management pipe/ labor $33,710
[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida - April 12, 2011 --
***NOTE*** Proctor's Press Statement is attached.
[UPDATE] Tallahassee, Florida - April 12, 2011 - Noon -
The Civil War began 150 years ago today, and one Leon County Commissioner says the fight is not over.
Commissioner Bill Proctor made the announcement at a press conference that wrapped up about a half hour ago.
Florida's capital of Tallahassee is the only southern capital not taken by Union forces in America's civil war, but today, County Commissioner Bill Proctor made a bold claim- saying the city is now waging a civil war against black men.
See the video for an interview with Commissioner Bill Proctor
Tallahassee, Florida - April 12, 2011 -
Commissioner Proctor to Hold News Conference Tuesday Morning
County Commissioner Bill Proctor will hold a news conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, April 12, 2011, on the first floor of the Leon County Courthouse to announce the City of Tallahassee’s civil war against black men.
“The Civil War has not ended,” said Commissioner Proctor, “but is in full rage against the black
community in 2011.”
For more information, contact Regina Glee, Aide to Commissioner Bill Proctor, at (850) 606-5371
or GleeR@leoncountyfl.gov .