Director's Report (4th Quarter - 2009)
Our department staff continues to rise to the challenge of meeting our existing responsibilities while forging ahead in unchartered areas. I am extremely proud of the work that our employees have accomplished this past quarter. You’ll see that our approach has been to think creatively about addressing institutional barriers. As a result, there has been numerous staff-driven measures that have led to systemic change, ultimately benefitting our constituents in unprecedented ways.
Overall Vendor Outreach Contract Awards
As we enter a new year, we're excited about the new opportunities that lie ahead. My heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of our community partners and my staff for helping make 2009 a success! Special thanks to Luis Morales, from our CERT Unit, for spearheading this Newsletter!
Luz María Frías
Changing the Face of Saint Paul…One Bid at a Time!
The Contract and Analysis Division (CAS) has been busy in recent months working on projects that had/or will have a very visible effect on the look of Dale Street and the East side of Saint Paul.
For many years the Rock of Ages Church, located close to downtown on Dale Street, was deteriorating; and the small congregation could not afford the extensive structural repairs needed to get a certificate of occupancy. This structure was an historic building, which many groups tried to save. However, the Rock of the Ages Church was ultimately deemed unsafe, and the Department of Safety and Inspection (DSI) recommended that the church be demolished, which the City Council later approved.
CAS assisted DSI in writing a very detailed specification for this project, which was difficult and complicated due to the church’s close proximity to other structures, its stability, and because it also shared a sewer and a connecting tunnel with a neighboring building. Before demolition began we worked with Vacant Buildings staff to hire an historical consultant to document the church and memorialize it with pictures so the structure could be preserved as part of the City’s history.
Following a bid process the project was awarded to Frattalone Excavating. The demolition followed sustainable deconstruction guidelines, and much of the building was salvaged, including some pews, the beautiful stained glass windows, and the cross that rose hundreds of feet in the air. Salvaging the windows was a labor-intensive and complicated process because it was determined that the windows had asbestos material around them. As a result, an asbestos contractor had to remove the windows and encase them entirely in plastic.
While it is always sad to see a once beautiful and once viable building removed, there are times when that is the only option.
After the church demolition was completed, the Saint Paul Port Authority contacted CAS to work on another demolition project. Because the Port Authority does not have a purchasing department, CAS does many of the larger demolitions and business park bidding for it. This demolition involves another landmark property, this time affecting the East side of Saint Paul. Bordered by Arcade and Minnehaha Avenue, this acreage was the former 3M plant campus. In order to develop the property for viable businesses, the Port Authority is removing several buildings and rehabbing others, including its former headquarters building, to develop a new office park that will be named Beacon Hill.
Since the demolition and hazardous material remediation was estimated to cost between $4,000,000 and $6,000,000 million dollars, there was much interest among the demolition and remediation community. The Port Authority hired Loucks Associates to write the specifications and to manage the project.
Once the bid was issued, it drew so much interest, including from many out-of-town vendors, that CAS used a novel approach to distributing the plans. CAS sent April Cote and Liz Maher to the pre-bid conference and site tour in order to sell and distribute the plans. This effort was greatly appreciated by the Port Authority, Loucks Associates, and the bidders.
This is a Federal Environmental Protection Agency project and carries a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise goal, a project labor agreement, and a federal wage decision. Bids are not due until February 11, so we are not certain what the actual bid price will be, but we are certain that the bid opening room will be packed full of vendors. Stay tuned for the next issue for an update on the bid results.
For more information, please visit the Contract & Analysis Services division website at http://www.stpaul.gov/cas or call 651-266-8900.
Minority Business Development & Retention Forums
The Minority Business Development and Retention (MBDR) division, along with our community partners, launched its first “Town-Hall Style” Business and Community Development Forums to discuss how the economic recession is affecting small businesses and how elected officials, city departments, and the banking community can provide resources beyond, and including, monetary help.
Approximately 160 small- to medium-sized minority, women, and disadvantaged business owners attended the Minnesota Centennial Showboat on Tuesday, October 13th and Monday, December 14th at the Wilder Foundation Forum. The special broadcast of “Conversations with Al McFarlane” featured live music by Wain McFarlane & Jahz, resource presentations, and networking with panelist and like-minded entrepreneurs.
Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman affirmed the City’s commitment to small, women-owned, and other disadvantaged businesses, and to communities of color through restructuring city government to create new ways to do business with the City of Saint Paul. This was followed by panel presentations from City Council Members Dave Thune and Melvin Carter, Departments of Planning and Economic Development, Safety and Inspections, Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity, and our Socially Responsible Investment Bank Vice Presidents from Park Midway Bank and University Bank.
Special thanks to our partnering sponsor, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Golden Thyme Coffee Shop and our community partners: Riverview Economic Development Association (REDA), Selby Area Community Development Corporation, and the Neighborhood Development Center. Additional Information/Media Partners include: Conversations with Al McFarlane and the Multicultural Media Consortium; consisting of Aldolfo Cardona - Latino Midwest, Nghi Huynh - Asian American Press, Tom Gitaa, Publisher Mshale Newspaper, Al McFarlane - Insight News and KFAI Fresh Air Radio - David Glass, on behalf of The Circle, Bashe Said - African News Journal, and Ali Musse - Bulsho TV.
Best Practices Officer & Procurement Initiatives
As part of the Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO)’s initiative towards smarter use of resources, Lucie Passus was hired in September 2009 as the City’s Best Practices Officer. As an entirely new position, the Best Practices Officer is leading the effort to streamline the City’s procurement processes by utilizing industry best practices in order to save money and to increase value to the City’s residents.
To start making progress towards this initiative, HREEO partnered with Saint Mary’s University - Master of Business Administration (MBA)’s program and engaged their fall MBA capstone class to study best practices in procurement for the City of Saint Paul. On December 18, 2009, HREEO’s director, Luz Maria Frias, the Deputy Mayor, Ann Mulholland, and other City directors, were presented with recommendations on cost-effective and sustainable procurement best practices to provide value to the residents of Saint Paul.
Led by Lucie Passus and Adolfo Rudy Cardona, MBA Faculty Student Advisor for Saint Mary’s University, the 16 MBA students undertook eight weeks of intense data gathering, research, classroom instruction, and interviews to analyze four procurement areas: cell phone contracts, water meter replacement, training contracts, and performance-based contracting. By evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in these four procurement areas, the MBA students identified internal and external aspects that are both favorable and unfavorable to achieving best practices in procurement.
With the research concluded, HREEO is set to move forward with some of the recommendations that were set forth by the MBA students. Look forward to future information on progress in this area in future editions of the HREEO newsletter.
Saint Paul’s 2010 Census Continues to Gain Momentum
With the expansion of staff assigned to work on the 2010 Census project, the Mayor’s Census Task Force is poised to successfully continue its mission as directed by the Mayor and the City Council. The Census team at the City now includes Leila Paye, Brian Joyce, Angela Burkhalter, Lucie Passus, and two interns.
Fall 2009 was a time full of activity for the Census team. It distributed over 30,000 Census calendars to various locations in Saint Paul, including libraries, food shelves, government buildings, parks and recreation centers, fire stations, charter schools, homeless shelters, women’s battered shelters, and non-profit organizations, such as Catholic Charities, Goodwill/Easter Seals, and the Salvation Army.
Census staff also worked with community partners and the Census Bureau to promote the Census at 22 events throughout the Saint Paul area. Events attended included: La Familia Latino Family Festival, District Councils 2, 6, 7 Neighborhoods Clean-Up, a District 10 Halloween event, the Hmong New Year celebration, a Highland Park water tower tour, a Minnesota Centennial Showboat viewing, a Light Rail workshop, Fire Station open houses, the Hallie Q. Brown 80th Anniversary Gala, a health fair workshop at the Skyline Towers, and the Saint Paul Public Library bookmobile tour.
On Tuesday, January 26, Mayor Chris Coleman, elected officials, and other community leaders and members gathered at Cub Foods-Midway to kick-off the 2010 Census. The kick-off marks Saint Paul’s push to have every person in Saint Paul counted in the upcoming Census.
The City’s Census website went live on November 2, 2009 and a direct link to the website can be accessed at www.stpaul.gov/census. A Census email account was also created where questions and comments to the Census Team can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next Saint Paul Census Task Force meeting is scheduled for February 24, 2010 at the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Center, 179 E. Robie Street, Saint Paul, MN 55107 from 1 – 3 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend the meeting.
Mark Evangelist Wins Buyer of the Year Award
Mark Evangelist has received the 2009 Buyer of the Year Award from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Institute of Government Purchasing (MNNIGP). The MNNIGP Board reviews nominations for the award, which recognizes professional achievement as well as active participation in MNNIGP functions. Mark’s list of accomplishments include saving Saint Paul and Ramsey County $2,400,000 over six years by writing contracts for fuel at Fixed-Rate Pricing and leading efforts to rewrite specifications for the housing demolition program to make demolition bids adopt a greener process that aims to get 100% of the materials from demolitions to be recycled. This is Mark’s third nomination for Buyer of the Year and the second time he has received the prestigious prize, having also won the award in 2005. Mark attributes his successful career to a trustworthy approach: “Keep your head down, do your work and you’ll be rewarded.” Congratulations Mark!
Getting to Know More About . . .
B2Gnow / LCPtracker
With B2Gnow, contractors can satisfy the City’s Subcontractor Utilization reporting requirements by electronically submitting the payment amounts made to their list of subcontractors. Similarly, LCPtracker allows contractors to complete their Certified Payroll reporting through an automated and secure online reporting system. Both systems promise to enhance the Division’s accuracy and
efficiency in managing compliance, as well as its ability to proactively identify compliance deficiencies.
What are some of the benefits of using B2Gnow and LCPtracker?
How do B2Gnow and LCPtracker work?
To learn more about the B2Gnow and LCPtracker, visit the Contract Compliance division website at https://stpaul.diversitycompliance.com or contact the Department of HREEO at 651-266-8900.
Ensuring Equal Access: HREEO’s New ADA Coordinator
Alyssa also serves as the City’s liaison to the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities (MACPD). The MACPD advises and makes recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on problems, issues, and opportunities facing people with disabilities. The partnership between the MACPD and the ADA Coordinator is mutually beneficial, giving both parties the opportunity to learn from and educate each other. Ultimately, this makes the City more responsive to people with disabilities.
For more information on the ADA or the MACPD, visit the Human Rights division website at http://www.stpaul.gov/index.aspx?NID=2403 or contact Alyssa Wetzel-Moore at ADACoordinator@ci.stpaul.mn.us or at 651-266-8900.
If you have any ideas or suggestions for HREEO's future newsletters, please feel free to contact Luis Morales at Luis.Morales@ci.stpaul.mn.us, or at 651-266-8900.
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