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Sunday, February 07, 2010

St. Paul, HUD settle over hiring, outreach

Please click onto the COMMENTS for the story.


Anonymous Tribune said...

The city will pay $1 million over the next four years to a fund that will be used to improve the way it works with low-income residents and businesses on construction projects that get federal money.

By CHRIS HAVENS, Star Tribune

Last update: February 3, 2010 - 8:15 PM

The city of St. Paul will pay $1 million over four years into a fund that will be used to improve its training, hiring and outreach efforts for low-income residents and the businesses that hire them as part of an agreement with a federal agency.

The resolution should free up $18 million in foreclosure relief money the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was withholding after it determined the city wasn't following the agency's rules for providing economic opportunities to the poor.

The St. Paul City Council approved the agreement Wednesday.

Cecile Bedor, the city's planning director, said she received word from HUD that it approved the agreement. Both sides still need to sign the document.

In August, HUD determined the city wasn't following so-called Section 3 rules. Those rules require agencies that receive certain HUD funds to make an effort to "the greatest extent possible" to provide job training, employment and contract opportunities for low-income residents and businesses on construction projects using at least $200,000 in assistance.

City officials said they had been making such effort, just not in the way HUD wanted it reported. They voluntarily agreed to bargain a resolution.

Bedor said the city wants to work with the agency and is pleased there's an agreement.

"It's a good step that HUD is making the city enforce this law. ... We hope St. Paul moves to become a model city for living out this program with the job training and small business development mentioned in the compliance agreement," said a statement from the Black Ministerial Alliance and ISAIAH, a coalition of 90 churches.

HUD sent letters to more than 3,000 state and local agencies last fall, telling them to document how they were complying with Section 3. HUD is beefing up its monitoring of the program and will use sanctions and other enforcement actions to get compliance.

In its review of St. Paul, the federal agency found the city:

• Hadn't submitted an annual report of its Section 3 dealings in several years.
• Wasn't notifying contractors about the requirements.
• Didn't enable the training, employment or awarding of contracts for the poor.

Chris Havens • 612-673-4148

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But I don't understand. St. Paul never does anything wrong do they Chuck?

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they should spend the million bucks replacing the housing they destroyed with their illegal code enforcement agenda to chase out the minorities.

1:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

More minorities live in St Paul today, than ten years ago. There are less slumlords around.

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$1 million here and another
$1 million and 2 million and so on.
Thunes cut in that million is how much?

6:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is $250,000 a year for training programs and monies to assist small and minority owned businesses to become involved in the City's contracting process.

I don't know how exactly this will be spent, but this is in line with what the City has been trying to do anyway.

Like I said, the big issue in this is assisting small and minority owned businesses in being able to meet the requirements to do work that is funded by Federal monies. The reason why the big boys get most of the work is because they have compliance departments that can fill out the paperwork and monitor who is on the job site and how much per hour which employee is getting on which assignment.

There will always be these issues as long as there isn't an agency that works with these small contractors to help them through the maze of paperwork and compliance.

I know its hard but think about it for a minute. A small minority paint business to get a City contract for one of these projects has to first, know that it is there to bid on it. Then has to bid it, paying prevailing wages, rather than his normal bid rate, then if they get the job has to document that rate on those employees, then if the job is large enough has to insure that his crew is diverse, then has to submit the forms for reimbursement after the work has been completed and has to pay salaries and sit on all of those expences until reimbursed by the City.

It ain't easy, and a lot of small contractors find it impossible or not worth the trouble.


Chuck Repke

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They make it that way by design to keep the minoritites out.

9:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:50 those are the Federal regs that the cities have to follow while at the same time finding ways to get minority contractors to bid on the jobs and for those who are paying prevailing wage to go down the bench and not hire the next man in line, but instead hit the compliance number.

They may be good policies, but they are not easy to follow and the big boys have compliance people who know how to make that happen. They can tell their project managers which crews to put on a city project to make sure the hit compliance numbers.

The Joe or Jane contractor finds it a pain in the ass and the delay in payment if they have not properly filled out a form impossible to cope with.


Chuck Repke

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets put more money in Thune's pocket, tha city don't knew how to handle their budget and they get federal money and can't use it properly.
Its time for a change like Obama says, get a new city government and not who has ruled St.Paul for over 60 years.

7:07 AM  

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