CIVIC CENTER Official proposes minority hire deal
Specific hiring goals would be waived in exchange for expanding the deal.
By ROGER G. SMITH
CITY HALL REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- The overseer of minority hiring and participation in city projects is looking to make a swap in the proposed downtown civic center project.
The deal: Ditch specific goals for hiring minorities and females on city-funded construction. In exchange, play a bigger role in minority hiring on the whole project.
That's what's being negotiated now, said William M. Carter, executive director of the city Human Relations Commission. He also heads the Youngstown Area Development Corp. That agency monitors minority hiring in city contracts.
Normally, the agency holds contractors on city projects accountable for meeting goals of 25 percent to 35 percent minority participation. Those goals can be waived, and often are, if qualified minorities aren't available.
In this case, that means such goals would apply to the $26.8 million in federal funds the city has to build a downtown arena.
The project, however, is expected to draw $25 million to $35 million more in private investment. That wouldn't be subject to the city's minority program.
What he's proposing
Carter is negotiating a different type of deal with the city development department.
The agency would set a contractor's goals only at hiring qualified minorities the city makes available. That discards the 25 percent to 35 percent requirement.
In exchange, the city -- through its contract with the developer -- would extend the deal to the entire project.
That means the city would provide minorities to other development connected with the project. An example would be hiring workers at the hotel that's expected to be part of the complex.
The arrangement assures there is minority participation throughout the project, Carter said. Meanwhile, developers and contractors are relieved of having to meet definitive goals.
Jeffrey L. Chagnot, city development director, wasn't available Tuesday to comment.
Carter said he expects to reach a deal with the city in a few weeks. That would be in time for the city to include the deal in its contract with the developer.
The city has been negotiating a contract with FaulkerUSA, a Texas-based developer, to build an arena, hotel and conference center between the Market Street and South Avenue bridges downtown. The city expects to complete that deal by May 15.