UPDATE: on CALL TO ACTION: Houston METROPOLITAN TRANSIT AUTHORITY by the Numbers
May 22, 2009
On yesterday, I summarily spoke before the Houston METRO board of directors in regards to the undeniable evidence of its anemic procurement activity with local, Black-male owned businesses. The goal was to find out if, in light of this evidence, President Frank Wilson would adjust his rhetoric to bring it more in line with the reality established by the numbers. The crux of my statement was as follows:
“As a member and advocate for the race-gender group of Black-male owned small business, I speak for us in the aggregate when I say that, based upon the preponderance of the evidence; Black-male owned small businesses are currently, and have been historically, adversely affected by the manner and methods by which procurement is conducted by the Authority.
Empirical predicate can be found in the reports and records of the Authority itself, and those of the Federal Transit Administration, which clearly establish that over the last 10 YEARS, Zero percent of the more than ~ $500M in contract spend by the Authority has gone to Black-male owned small business in the form of Prime Contracts, in particular Professional Services. This has occurred despite the fact that there is an ample pool of ready, willing, and able Black-Male owned businesses in our community that provide Professional Services within the verticals historically and currently procured by the Authority.
In light of the aforementioned, I pose the following question to the Authority Board of Directors and METRO President, Mr. Frank Wilson in particular; “Mr. President, how does this fact reconcile with your statement at the last Board meeting that METRO has a proud record of issuing PROFESSIONAL SERVICES Prime-Contracts to Black-Male owned businesses?”
The response to this question came, not from the President, but from the Chairman, Mr. David S.Wolff (pictured above). His was a request for offline review of the facts with senior management personnel, Mr. Paul L. Como, Vice President – Procurement & Materials; and, Ms. Deborah A. Richard, Vice President – Administrative Services.
Stay tuned for the outcome of those discussions.
– Rudy Sutherland, 8-PAC Editor
8(a) Serial Entrepreneur & Small Business Evangelist