Rufus Wells, Sr., Executive Director, Minority Construction Council
June 01, 2011
On April 28, 2011 the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) was named 2010 Local Corporation of the Year by the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council (GNEMSDC). The award recognizes a local corporation that: 1) Displays a strong support for minority business enterprises (MBE) as a community; 2) generates interest at all levels of the company; 3) is committed to increasing procurement opportunities for MBE’s in the New England area; and 4) serves as a role model for other corporations to follow.
I don’t know about you, but the way I was raised “what you do says more about you than what you say you’re going to do”. When I was playing basketball “back in the day” at Keney Park in Hartford, there were many Pretenders who purchased a new pair of Converse All-star sneakers and came to the court to play. Players would come from as far away as New York City and Boston to test their game against the best Players Hartford had to offer.
After the initial “trash talking” about how good your game was, at some point in time you had to get those new Converse All-stars dirty and take it to the basketball court. At this point, it did not matter how good “you said you were”, or how good someone else said you were. The only thing that mattered was could you bring it to the court. If you were an elite performer and scored anywhere between 20 and 40 points, you
did not have to tell people how good you were. The statistics spoke for themselves. Then, word went out in the community that you had game.
We are all community folks here so let’s apply the “he’s got game” test to the MDC. There was a Disparity Study completed by Miller Three Consulting to determine if the MDC is a Player or a Pretender. A Pretender is someone who says they can play, but the scoring average, rebounds, and assists just don’t back up the claim. According to the Disparity Study the MDC discriminates against African Americans on construction contracts. If a company discriminates it is the same as scoring less than 1 point per game. If the MDC allows companies that have a contract with the MDC to discriminate against minority firms, it is the same as no assists per game. The MDC did not do the actual discriminating, but they allowed contractors that work for them to discriminate. It’s called “passive participation” in the trade, or turning your head on a beat-down in the community. The MDC did not keep statistics for this category so we will be generous and allow them 1 assist per game. Finally, we get to rebounds per game. Rebounding can be related to rooting out instances of discrimination by the leadership of the MDC. After the Disparity Study the MDC is supposed to publish its progress towards eliminating discrimination on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. I’ve been looking for their statistics online for some time, but the MDC has not published information on their greatness. The net impact of no reporting is zero rebounds per game.
Let me see, I don’t have to tell you my scoring average, all I have to tell you is that I doubled my scoring average from 2008 to 2009. Surely doubling my scoring average makes me a Player. Not! If your scoring average was 1 point per game and now it’s 2 points per game, you are still a Pretender unless your name is Dennis Rodman.
The MDC also has a habit of confusing the statistics. How is this accomplished? Well, the MDC should be keeping separate statistics on Women Business Enterprises (WBE) and ethnic Minority Business Enterprises (MBE). According to the Disparity Study (the official bookkeeper), the MDC scores when they award contracts to African American firms in construction. This is the ultimate score; it’s like hitting 3 point field goals every time you shoot. Giving a contract to a WBE is not even a score because they are shooting at the wrong basket. Giving a contract to a small Caucasian male firm is also like shooting at the wrong basket. What the MDC does not want you to know is that they have made a practice of shooting at the wrong basket, but they take credit for a score when it goes in the wrong hoop. You have heard the saying that “the devil is in the details”. If the MDC is truly the “Player of the Year”, show us the details. Show the Hartford community what your average was at the beginning of the Disparity Study (2005) by racial classification (African American, Hispanic, Asian, American Indian) through the last
calendar year (2010) for which you received an award from the GNEMSDC.
If the MDC is a Playa – “Show Me The Money”, let me know how much money the MDC has spent with African American contractors from the Greater Hartford area on the $2 billion Clean Water Project, and how much money the MDC spent in total each year. While you are at it, also let me know how much money the MDC has spent with all minority contractors in the region. If you are a real Player you will provide your statistics to back up your claim. Otherwise, the award is a Loser’s award not worth the paper it’s printed on, reserved for Pretenders.
It would be nice to see people working in the streets of Hartford that are being constantly torn up that are of the African American and Hispanic persuasion. Current statistics indicate that unemployment in the City of Hartford is over 17%. Too bad that the people keeping the statistics don’t do a head count of all the young men in the Hartford community who are ready, willing and able to work but can’t find a job. The real number of Hartford’s unemployed population is in excess of 40%. Nothing against our Mexican and South American brothers in the struggle, but its not possible for them to claim a P.O. Box as their place of residence in Hartford.
In the final analysis, Hartford can not be that “Great City on a Hill” if the MDC is not a responsible corporate citizen. Hartford residents don’t need promises of training opportunities, they need good paying jobs. Our people have been trained until they are “Blue in the face”. Now go around and count the number of Blue faces you see working on the streets being torn up in its eight member towns. Most Hartford residents would be overjoyed to learn a new construction trade if they knew at the end of the day the job paid over $50 per hour with benefits. Has anyone ever heard of on-the-job-training? It is a proven fact that minority contractors hire minority workers. Don’t let an award by an organization that most of you have never heard of blind you to the fact that you are being had on a daily basis by a Pretender. Stop the madness; Hartford residents need jobs now, minority contractors need contracts now. Instead of being a Pretender, the MDC should step up its game and be the kind of role model GNEMSDC says they are. When and only when this happens, the Minority Construction Council, and the Greater Hartford African American Alliance will be the first to say “They Got Game!
Minority Construction Council
Greater Hartford African American Alliance
Reprinted with permission of the NorthEnd Agent's.
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