HREEO newsletter header
Quarterly Newsletter -- Summer 2012

IN THIS ISSUE

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Director's Corner
HUD Partnership
SADBOC
Voter Outreach
EMS Academy Events
ASA Outreach Event
New River Print Store
On-site Visits & Audits
Payne-Maryland Vendor Outreach
Jump Jam
Employment Law Event
HREEO 2011 Annual Report
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Readus Fletcher

Director's Corner

As the city steams through a hot summer, the Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) has been focused on outreach events and a busy purchasing season. The spring and summer seasons are typically the busiest times of the season for the department and 2012 has proved to be no exception.
In June, we had the pleasure to welcome HUD Assistant Secretary John Trasvina to Saint Paul. The Assistant Secretary was in Saint Paul to recognize the city’s new Fair Housing Assistance Program partnership with HUD. The new Fair Housing agreement is an exciting opportunity for our department. The Human Rights staff looks forward to working with the community to prevent discrimination in housing.
The search also continues for the next director of HREEO. The Committee has been reviewing applicants and will soon begin vetting candidates. The city hopes to have a new director in place this fall.
The final months of the summer look to be full of activity. As a central services department we are busy partnering with all other city departments, the Port Authority, and Ramsey County. I hope you join me in looking forward to the opportunities the busy summer season provides.
HUD visit guests

Saint Paul signs Fair Housing partnership with HUD

On June 11th, Mayor Chris Coleman and HREEO Interim Director Readus Fletcher welcomed Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Assistant Secretary John Trasvina to sign the new Fair Housing Assistance Program agreement between the City of Saint Paul and HUD. The Fair Housing Assistance Program gives the city new federal authority, support, and financial assistance to investigate complaints of housing discrimination within Saint Paul.
"When our city protects individuals from discriminatory housing practices, we are enhancing civil rights and human dignity,” said Mayor Coleman. "This partnership represents a strong approach to aggressively taking on and preventing housing discrimination."
The Fair Housing Assistance Program is evidence of what can happen when governments work together. Government agencies become more efficient and residents receive better services. The partnership means individuals will be able to bring housing discrimination complaints directly to HREEO, versus filing with HUD. The Saint Paul Human Rights division is more familiar with the neighborhoods and cultures of the community and will provide more personalized assistance.
The Fair Housing Assistance Program will also fund additional community outreach efforts. By educating area residents and property owners, the city will work to limit future discriminatory practices from occurring within the community. "It is a natural relationship to combine our efforts to combat discrimination in housing. It gives us the resources to receive and investigate complaints, but more importantly, it also gives us the ability to prevent discrimination through outreach to our residents and stakeholders," said Interim Director Readus Fletcher.
SADBOC business networking

SADBOC - Small Business Networking event

In May, Contract and Analysis Services (CAS), River Print, and the Contract Compliance divisions of HREEO attended the 12th Annual SADBOC (Small and Disadvantaged Business Opportunity Council) Government Procurement Fair. Each year SADBOC holds an outreach event to connect small businesses with governments and corporate buyers interested in their particular services. Combing training opportunities with marketing strategies, the event provides small businesses with an opportunity to network with representatives from federal, state and local governments, general contractors, and nonprofit organizations.
CAS, River Print, and Contract Compliance each hosted booths at the event. CAS discussed upcoming city projects and answered technical procurement questions. The River Print staff networked with current and potential clients, and River Print Operations Manager, Jeff Pluff, held one-on-one sessions with vendors interested in doing business with River Print. The event also allowed our Section 3 and Vendor Outreach Program Administrators to discuss their program certification requirements and help connect small businesses with larger contractors on upcoming city projects.
voter outreach and education

Voter Outreach and Education event for the Disability Community

On June 19th, Mayor Coleman joined HREEO staff liaison, Alyssa Wetzel-Moore, and the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities to host a Voter Outreach and Education event tailored to voters with disabilities. The outreach event was created to help voters with disabilities know their voting rights and give them the tools they need to participate in the 2012 elections.
The four available voting accessibility options – the Automark Machine, Curbside Voting, Absentee Voting and Election Judges – were discussed. Claire Wilson from the Secretary of State’s office presented on voter registration and voting requirements and answered questions from the audience. Christian Knights from the Courage Center discussed the “Rides to the Polls” program and provided information on how to get involved as a volunteer or participant. Miss Saint Paul Elizabeth Scipioni, Special Olympics Coach, also attended and greeted attendees.
City Cable was also on hand to film the event and the full video is available on the city’s YouTube channel.
EMS academy graduation

Spring 2012 EMS Academy Events

The nationally recognized Saint Paul EMS Academy hosted three major events in April 2012.

EMS Academy Spring Graduation

On April 16th, Deputy Mayor Paul Williams, former HREEO Director Luz Maria Frias, Fire Chief Tim Butler, and EMS Academy Instructor David Page hosted graduation ceremonies for the 2012 Spring EMS Academy graduating class. Fire Chief Butler administered the EMS Medical Technician Oath and presented the graduating class to the community. The group is the fifth and largest graduating EMS Academy class. To date, 73 students have graduated from the EMS Academy.
fire station renaming

Fire Station 51 re-naming – Freedom House

Also in April, HREEO, Deputy Mayor Williams, Saint Paul Fire, and the EMS Academy officially renamed Saint Paul Fire Station 51, Freedom House. From 1967-1975, the Freedom House Ambulance Service pioneered the emergency medical services profession and employed some of the first paramedics in the country. The Saint Paul EMS Academy aspires to continue the Freedom House tradition of providing emergency medical training opportunities and services to all individuals within our community.
Featured keynote speakers included members of the original Freedom House Ambulance Service, Walter Brown, Darnella Williams, and George McCary III. The original Freedom House keynote speakers encouraged EMS Academy students to take advantage of the personal and professional opportunities provided by the EMS Academy. 
film screening

“Street Saviors” – Freedom House Documentary Film Screening

On April 17th, the EMS Academy also hosted a viewing and panel discussion of the documentary film, Street Saviors. The documentary chronicles the story of the Pittsburgh Freedom House project that began in 1967. Following the film, former HREEO Director Frias led a panel discussion. The panel included filmmaker, Gene Strazensky, and original Freedom House members who discussed the importance of the Freedom House project. Melvin Carter and Nathaniel Khaliq also sat on the discussion panel. The two stressed the importance of both recognizing our past, represented by the Freedom House project, as well as our future with the Saint Paul EMS Academy.
The EMS Academy is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification program designed for low income youth ages 18-24 interested in entering the emergency medical services field. Its goal is to build an EMT workforce that reflects the communities that emergency medical personnel in Saint Paul serve. Learn more at EMS Academy or our Facebook page.
For more information about Pittsburgh’s Freedom House project visit their website.

American Subcontractors Association Outreach Event

On April 24th, HREEO’s Labor Standards Officer Alex Dumke, Section 3 Administrator Luis Morales, and Vendor Outreach Program Coordinator Mike Johnson presented at the American Subcontractors Association (ASA) Construction Practices Meeting. The ASA Construction Practices Meetings are an opportunity for subcontractors and suppliers to discuss issues and problems that effect ASA members.
The ASA invited the city to present on federal and state prevailing wage requirements, as well as the certification requirements and benefits of registering as a Section 3 or certified (small, woman-, minority-owned) business. Smaller-sized subcontractors often lack familiarity with government contract requirements and may not be aware that Saint Paul directs contracting goals to small and low income businesses. The meeting also included a discussion of the concerns that ASA members have regarding recent insurance indemnification legislation. The indemnification discussion was interesting to compliance staff as it represents another obstacle and concern that small businesses face in a difficult construction market. 
River Print logo

New River Print Online Store Coming Soon

On June 27th, River Print staff began training a targeted group of clients on the use of the new River Print online store. The selected group included River Print customers from the city, Ramsey County, and outside agencies that use our products and services.
The new online store went through an extensive re-design to better meet the needs of our customers, as well as position River Print for future growth. Along with more accurate pricing, the new store will allow customers to order custom items and regular department print items, such as letterhead, envelopes, and business cards, all in one location. The new store should also improve the overall user experience by offering easier navigation and the ability to accurately preview products.
Please visit the River Print webpage for more information.
compliance officer visit

Contract Compliance Officers increasing On-site Visits and Audits

When HREEO was created in 2009, one of its goals was to centralize city contract compliance enforcement. One of the main enforcement tools the Contract Compliance division uses is visiting city construction sites to ensure that information submitted by contractors’ matches what is in fact happening on the project site. Before the creation of HREEO, on-site visits were infrequent and generally only conducted as the result of a complaint.
Today, Davis Bacon, Section 3, Affirmative Action, and Vendor Outreach Program compliance officers all conduct project visits to ensure compliance with prevailing wage laws, as well as workforce and targeted vendor program goals. On-sites visits range from confidential on-site employee interviews, simple site visits to identify contractors on site, and office visits to ensure company ownership and workforce status. On-site interviews and audits target both union and nonunion employees as well as large, small, and minority- and women-owned businesses.
The overarching goal of on-site visits is to ensure greater contract compliance, but the goal is also to increase the presence of compliance enforcement officers on city projects. By increasing our presence, it increases the likelihood that on-site employees will feel comfortable in filing a complaint. Our presence in the construction community also sends the message that the city is serious about enforcing prevailing wage laws and targeted vendor goals.

Payne-Maryland Vendor Outreach Event

On June 21st, HREEO partnered with Saint Paul Parks & Recreation, Planning and Economic Development, Kraus Anderson, and Reiling Construction to host a small business networking event for the construction of the new Payne-Maryland Recreation Center. Over 70 businesses attended the networking event held at Arlington Hills Lutheran Church. The outreach event included a project overview and a chance for small businesses to connect with larger contractors interested in bidding on the upcoming project.
The Payne-Maryland Recreation Center is an approximately $8.9 million development project that will house a Saint Paul Public Library and a Parks Recreation Center. The project includes an overall Vendor Outreach goal of 25% awarded to small, minority-, and woman-owned businesses.
HREEO continues to partner with other city departments, outside agencies, and prime contractors to host networking events to help maximize small business participation on city projects. By advertising upcoming projects and hosting numerous events, HREEO promotes the use of small, minority-, and woman-owned businesses on the many construction opportunities available to targeted businesses.

Jump Jam Double Dutch Challenge

The City of Saint Paul has teamed with HealthPartners and the YWCA to launch a health fitness challenge. Youth and adults ages 10 and older can register for the free summer program that will be held at five Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Centers. Interested adults and children over the age of 10 can register until Saturday July 14, 2012 for the Jump Jam Double Dutch jump rope challenge.Register online at: www.healthpartners.com/jumpjam
No experience is necessary to participate. Free Double Dutch lessons and coaches will be available at open sessions held at each of the participating recreation centers.
  • Wellstone Center, 179 Robie Street East
  • Linwood Recreation Center, 860 St. Clair Ave.
  • Oxford/Jimmy Lee Recreation Center, 270 Lexington Pkwy North
  • Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center, 790 Conway Ave.
  • Rice Recreation Center 1021 Marion St.
Finalists from each recreation center will compete in a city challenge held on Saturday, August 18th.
Check out the Double Dutch Jump Jam video to see why the event is a great way for people of all ages to be physically active.
employment law event

Human Rights Division at Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute event

On May 21, the Human Rights division participated in the 2012 Upper Midwest Employment Law Institute hosted by Minnesota Continuing Legal Education, the Minnesota State Bar Association's Labor and Employment Law Section, and the Twin Cities Human Resource Association. The event was attended by several hundred employment law attorneys, human resources staff, and other legal professionals. The event provided an excellent opportunity to highlight the work of the Saint Paul Human Rights division and share best practices. Approximately 80% of the division's cases are employment law cases, so Human Rights staff has developed expertise in relevant employment law and experience working with both charging parties and respondents.
Alyssa Wetzel-Moore, Human Rights Specialist, served on a panel with Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey and Deputy Director of the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department Michael Brown. The panelists discussed their respective investigation processes, how their offices interact, and their relationship with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). One question asked by the attendees was how each agency maintains its neutrality. Ms. Wetzel-Moore explained that the City of Saint Paul, through its Human Rights ordinance, prohibits discrimination within its jurisdiction and seeks to prevent discrimination through its enforcement authority. Unlike attorneys who are zealous advocates for their clients, the Human Rights division is "a zealous advocate for the facts." Through an emphasis on the facts of a given charge, the division maintains its neutrality and upholds anti-discrimination laws.
Human Rights was honored that EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum attended the session. Commissioner Feldblum tweeted about the panel and congratulated the Human Rights Division for its efforts.

HREEO 2011 Annual Report

HREEO has completed its 2011 Annual Department Report. The report highlights the responsibilities and successes of the department in 2011. The report can be found on the HREEO homepage under under “Publications and Resources.”
HREEO 2011 Annual Report

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