YOUNGSTOWN CONVOCATION CENTER Officials worried about minority hiring

The city engineer says money can be withheld for noncompliance.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A series of meetings is planned to make sure contractors working on the Youngstown Convocation Center comply with the city's requirement for minority and female participation on the $42 million project.
William M. Carter, executive director of Youngstown Area Development Corp., said some contractors have not been notifying him of their efforts to hire minorities and women.
The YADC handles the city's Minority Business Enterprise/Women's Business Enterprise programs. Carter also is executive director of the Youngstown Human Relations Commission, which, among its other duties, monitors minority participation in city building projects.
The MBE/WBE programs establish percentage guidelines for minority and female involvement in city construction jobs.
Hiring requirements
Carter said the MBE requires 25 percent to 35 percent and the WBE requires 10 percent to 15 percent of the contract's total dollar amount go to minority or female subcontractors.
That information was part of the bid package all contractors received when seeking work on the convocation center, Carter said in his meeting Wednesday with Mike Perry, construction manager for Hunt Construction, the company overseeing the center project; Carmen S. Conglose Jr., the city's deputy director of public works; and the Rev. A. Wendell Wheadon, HRC member.
Carter said, however, that some contractors already have started work at the center without giving him notification they have made good-faith efforts to hire minority or women subcontractors.
Carter said Ohio Steel Co. of Columbus, which made the center's structural steel, and who subcontracted with Kelley Steel of Cleveland to erect the material, has never notified him what Ohio Steel did to meet the city's minority participation standards.
Perry said minority subcontractors work for Kelley, but Carter said the company never notified him. Carter said a company representative said they contacted Perry.
Perry said Ohio Steel was mistaken in doing so because its contract is with the city not with Hunt, and they must follow city procedures. He said he would call Ohio Steel representatives and have them contact Carter.
Carter said the black community has contacted the HRC and the YADC and expressed concern about the lack of work going to minorities.
Conglose said if there are ongoing issues that can't be resolved, he will notify the contractor or contractors they must meet the city's minority/female participation requirement "or we can withhold their money."
Individual meetings are planned with: Bruce & amp; Merrilees of New Castle, Pa., electrical contractor; D & amp;G Mechanical of West Middlesex, Pa., mechanical contractor; and Lencyk Masonry Co. of Boardman, masonry contractor. They will begin work soon and the meeting is to make sure they understand the MBE/FBE requirement and to keep in contact with Carter.
Conglose said once the city board of control awards more contracts for center work, he will notify Carter, who said he would immediately call the contractors and remind them about the requirement and that he must be notified of their good-faith efforts to meet it.