Published: Monday, November 6, 2006
Contractor to explain hiring practices
Contractors on school projects are asked to hire women and minorities.
By HAROLD GWIN
YOUNGSTOWN The president of Stone Creek Interior Systems said he will send a representative to Wednesday's city board of education meeting to explain why his company has no women or minorities or city residents working on its school building projects.
The answer is simple, said Mike Lee: Neither his company nor the subcontractor it hired to do the actual work has had to hire any new employees to work on those jobs.
There just haven't been any jobs to fill, he said, noting that there were usually only about four people on either of the two school construction contracts his company holds.
If the job required 20 or 30 people, there would likely be an opportunity to bring on local people, but the scope of the work hasn't been that broad, Lee said.
He pointed out that the subcontractor on the jobs, A.G. DeSantis Co. of Hubbard, is a female-owned business.
Stone Creek, in Lewis Center, Ohio, has the contracts for cabinet and casement work at both the P. Ross Berry Middle School and the East High School projects, totaling $1,158,000, according to Al Curry, the school district's equal employment opportunity compliance officer.
The Berry job is done, but East is still under construction.
What's in contract
Curry said Stone Creek's contract, like that signed by all contractors in the district's building program, calls for a good-faith effort to hire women, minorities and city residents on their jobs.
The goals are 20 percent minorities, 20 percent women and 50 percent city residents.
Curry said the fact that the subcontractor is owned by a woman doesn't excuse Stone Creek from making an effort to meet the equal employment opportunity clause of its contract.
Curry told the board of education last month that Stone Creek had no minorities, women or city residents on its jobs, and he sought the board's permission to call the company to meet with the board at its next meeting to explain why.
The board agreed, but Curry later reported that Lee indicated he wouldn't be attending that Oct. 24 meeting.
Lee said he didn't believe a presence was required as he had answered Curry's questions by mail.
However, upon further insistence from the school district, he said representatives from his company and DeSantis will be at the next board meeting Wednesday.
Curry acknowledged there is little the school district can do to force a company to hire women, minorities and city residents.
The contracts require only a good-faith effort by the contractors to do that. They don't include penalty clauses for noncompliance, he said, but the board of education does have the authority to require contractors to appear at a meeting to explain why they haven't complied.