Stemming from a first-of-its kind audit taken on by any city in America, the City of Saint Paul took steps to improve and ensure equal access to city-managed contracts, especially for firms owned by those from traditionally underrepresented communities.
Among the steps was the creation of a new City department, the Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Development (HREEO) that consolidated existing resources to better serve, monitor, and enforce City policy designed to expand economic opportunities and produce a more economically inclusive Saint Paul. The creation HREEO brought together civil rights enforcement, contract analysis and procurement, contract monitoring, investigation, and enforcement, and capacity building and workforce development under one roof.
HREEO is currently headed by Director Luz Maria Frias
, who serves a 3-year term at the recommendation of the mayor and was vetted through a community selection process similar to that for the City’s police and fire chief. The HREEO Commission
provides some performance oversight of HREEO and its director.