Va NAACP says state, city construction hiring unfair

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email

Posted by Colby Rogers

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones will meet with the Virginia Conference of the NAACP on Monday to discuss whether minority contractors are getting a fair share of taxpayer-funded projects.

King Khalfani, the executive director of the Virginia NAACP said in a protest in front of Richmond City Hall Wednesday that the state and city are not doing enough to even the playing field for minorities.

Standing in the shadows of City Hall, Khalfani went after city and state hiring practices, saying they are not hiring minority-owned business for construction projects.

"We have found that black firms are under-utilized - especially in architecture, engineering and construction sub-contracting," Khalfani said. "We've got some competing forces here and it's not fair. All we want is our fair share."

The Virginia Conference of the NAACP wants the city to create a czar of procurement that can monitor the hiring process. The group is also asking the city to resolve a $200 million lawsuit with a well-known minority contractor.

The Office of Minority Business Development says the city paid around $15 million to minority-owned contractors in 2008 - about 17 percent of all money for contracts.

The state is scheduled to spend $12 million on minority contractors this year - about 4 percent of all the money spent on construction.

Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones says he's committed to helping small businesses. In a statement released Wednesday Jones said the city is "reviewing city performance where small and minority business inclusion is concerned" and "sending a message to all city contractors of the importance of inclusion."

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is also scheduled to meet with the governor in April.

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