The focus of this quarterly issue is guided by a famous quote attributed to Helen Keller: "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
Local government faces the same budget challenges as their state and federal counterparts. Yet, the need for our respective services continues to grow. Collaboration is no longer an option, but a necessity. By partnering with others and collaborating towards a common goal or outcome, we achieve success at a greater level. Inherently, relationships are strengthened and trust deepened as immeasurable outcomes resulting from the interaction. More importantly, Saint Paul residents benefit from these collaborative efforts. Some of these collaborative efforts are highlighted below. We look forward to partnering with you and others in the years ahead.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
The City of Saint and the Department of Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) attended numerous events in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month.
On January 14th, the Human Rights staff joined Mayor Coleman for the 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration. Participants began the day by rallying at Central High School and proceeded to march down Marshall Avenue to the main observance program at Concordia University. The annual program presentation included music, dance, poetry, and Mayor Coleman speaking on the legacy of Dr. King. Saint Paul Human Rights also staffed our information booth at the observance program to talk with participants and discuss the department’s role in helping to eliminate discrimination.
Black History Month
In February, city staff and the Black History Month Committee organized a number of gatherings in recognition of Saint Paul’s important African-American heritage. Black History Month featured presentations from Roxanne Givens who is founding Minnesota’s first African-American History Museum, Frank White whose efforts are bringing to light the untold story of Saint Paul’s African-American baseball players, and Whitney Stewart Harris’ discussed his studies on African-American men and masculinities.
On February 24th, Deputy Mayor Paul Williams served as master of ceremonies for the final Black History Month event and luncheon. Deputy Mayor Williams welcomed Mayor Chris Coleman, Councilmember Russ Stark, and Ramsey County Commissioner Rafael Ortega, all spoke of the proud traditions and challenges faced by the African-American community. Robin Hickman, niece of Gordon Parks, was the keynote speaker and discussed the legacy of Mr. Parks. Gordon Parks, who spent part of his childhood in Saint Paul, was an internationally famed photographer, author, and director of the film “Shaft.” Deputy Mayor Williams also welcomed HREEO staff member Mike Johnson, who discussed his involvement in local efforts to preserve the history of the Tuskegee Airmen.
Black History Month photos by James Kamrowski
Mayor Coleman visits EMS Academy
On February 6th, Mayor Chris Coleman and Director Frias dropped in to visit the EMS Academy. Mayor Coleman spoke with the students to show his support for the EMS Academy and to encourage participants to take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by the EMS Academy. The EMS Academy is a demanding program, but graduates earn valuable medical training experience, gain access to new career opportunities, and inspire their families and community. The 2012 spring academy is the fifth EMS Academy sponsored by the City of Saint Paul and promises to be the largest graduating class to date.
The next EMS Academy course is the summer session running June 18 – August 24, 2012.
Section 3 Achievements
The City of Saint Paul’s nationally recognized Section 3 program continues to make a difference in our local community. Section 3 is a race and gender neutral program whose goal is to promote neighborhood and individual economic development by employing low-income individuals and businesses on local construction projects.
In 2011, the Department of Planning and Economic Development (PED) advertised for janitorial and lawn services on a series of vacant houses that PED had rehabilitated and was preparing for resale. PED project managers worked with our department to solicit vendors and targeted outreach to Section 3 contractors. By partnering, PED and HREEO were able to award three contracts for janitorial services to Section 3 contractors and awarded two contracts for lawn services to Section 3 contractors. The total of the five awards was over $60,000.
The 2011 HREEO Annual Report will elaborate on Section 3 successes, but one area of particular achievement is the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). In 2011, the City of Saint Paul's Neighborhood Stabilization Program awarded a total of 46 single family home renovation projects.
- Of the 46 renovation projects, 33 were awarded to Section 3 prime contractors. Amounting to $5.4 million dollars;
- in addition, 33 Section 3 contractors were awarded subcontractor work. Amounting to $1.14 million dollars;
- in total, 43 unique Section 3 businesses received work from the city's NSP program in 2011.
HREEO hosts Police Officers from Pakistan and Korea
On March 6, the Human Rights Division hosted three international participants with the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs Fellowship Program. The goal of the program is to provide a year of professional enrichment in the United States to individuals from designated countries throughout the world. During their visit to Saint Paul, the participants met with Human Rights Specialist, Gessner Rivas, to learn more about the city’s human rights ordinance and the department’s responsibility in investigating charges of discrimination within the city. This was the second year our department has welcomed international Humphrey Institute Fellows. The Humphrey Institute’s visitors consisted of three police officers, one from South Korea and two from Pakistan.
(Pictured from left to right: Sergeant John Wuorinen, Saint Paul Police Department’s host to the Humphrey Fellows; Muhammad Tahir, Senior Superintendent of Police for the National Highways and Motorway Police in Pakistan; Muhammad Quarish Khan, Police Chief for District Nowshera at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan; Jun Sup Han, member of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency; and Gessner Rivas, Human Rights Specialist).
Public Works Contractor Workshop
In February, HREEO partnered with the Department of Public Works to host a workshop with general contractors interested in bidding on upcoming city road construction projects. The training session was organized to present purchasing and contract compliance requirements to potential contractors with a goal of expediting spring road construction projects with minimal delays.
During the workshop, contractors were also able to explain their challenges in meeting project goals and submitting paperwork. The meeting resulted in increased city efforts to balance compliance requirements, such as prevailing wage laws and workforce goals, with the demands placed on contractors to meet legal requirements. The workshop was a success as both contractors and city staff came away with a better understanding of the work that goes into meeting the legal requirements tied to public construction projects. Contractors are also encouraged to contact the Contract & Analysis Services Division or the Contract Compliance Division if they have questions on purchasing or compliance requirements.
A special thanks to Senior Buyer, Sue Feuerherm for moderating the discussion as well as Dan Haak and Tom Stadsklev in Public Works for organizing the event.
On March 1st, several HREEO staff members attended the annual meeting and awards banquet hosted by the Association of Women Contractors (AWC). HREEO received the “Milestone Membership Achievement” for five years of membership and support of the AWC.
The City of Saint Paul is committed to partnering with the AWC to increase the business participation of woman-owned businesses contracting with the city.
River Print New Location
As mentioned in the previous HREEO Newsletter, River Print has moved to a new location. The new location is 375 Jackson Street, West Tower - Suite B1. The new River Print site is a big improvement over the old shop in the basement of the former West Publishing building. Jeff Pluff, manager of River Print, explained “we are very excited about our new location. The updated shop layout and proximity to the buildings loading dock will only enhance our ability to meet our customers’ needs. Employee safety has also been addressed, with a much more open floor plan, and with much better lighting in the production areas of the shop."
Director Frias and the River Print staff also wish to thank Anthony Anderson, Le’Ander Sanders, Walter Rhodes, and Ramsey County Workforce Solutions for helping River Print move to its new location. River Print needed to move out of its previous location before the end of the year, which required extra reinforcements to meet the deadline. The move would not have been possible without the hard work and assistance of Anthony and Le’Ander.
Multi-Language Snow Emergency Information
Despite the mild winter and record-breaking spring temperatures, residents can get a reminder of a typical Minnesota winter by viewing the newly produced Snow Emergency Information
videos. The Public Works Department collaborated with ECHO
to produce several multi-language videos that explain the city’s parking and snow plowing rules. The Snow Emergency videos are available in seven languages including Hmong, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, Khmer, Lao, Karen and English. The videos are also available in hard copy format upon request. Local media is encouraged to contact David Hunt
in Public Works if they are interested in scheduling interviews or appearances.
Saint Paul announces increase in minority workforce goals
Effective May 1, 2012, the City of Saint Paul has announced it will adopt the updated construction workforce goals recently approved by Governor Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has raised the goal for Ramsey and Hennepin Counties to 32% for minority workforce participation. The workforce participation goal for women will remain at 6%.
The city will begin implementing the new goals on May 1st, 2012. The new Affirmative Action goals are responsive to the demographic changes in the metro area and provide an effective tool to combat the disparity gap. The City of Saint Paul remains committed to increasing workforce diversity across all contracting opportunities and looks forward to meeting and exceeding the new Affirmative Action workforce goals.
Upcoming Events – Save the Date
The EMS Academy will be hosting a series of events in April. Please contact Terence Steinberg (651-266-8920 or firstname.lastname@example.org
) with questions. The events are as follows:
- Monday April 16th at 8:00 a.m., the EMS Academy and Saint Paul Fire Department will host a station dedication event at Fire Station 51 (296 7th St. West). Fire Station 51 now houses the Saint Paul EMS Academy and will officially be renamed “Freedom House.” The new name is in recognition of the Freedom House Ambulance Service and reflects the EMS Academy’s mission. The Freedom House Ambulance Service, established in 1967, was the first mobile Intensive Care Unit in the country and became the model for the paramedic profession.
- Monday April 16th at 6:00 p.m., HREEO, the Saint Paul Fire Department, and Deputy Mayor Paul Williams will host the graduation ceremony for the spring 2011 EMS Academy class. Graduation will be held at Dayton’s Bluff Elementary (800 Conway St.) and feature original Freedom House Ambulance Service responders as key note speakers.
- Wednesday April 18th at 3:15 p.m., the EMS Academy will be hosting a community viewing of the documentary film “Street Saviors” at the Wellstone Center (179 Robie St. E.) Councilmember Melvin Carter, Gene Starzensky (director of the documentary), and original Freedom House Ambulance Service members will discuss the making of the documentary and the historical significance of the Freedom House Ambulance Service.
All events are free and open to the public.