published on August 3, 2016 - 7:21 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The Central Valley Business Diversity Partnership (CVBDP) is calling on the State Center Community College District (SCCCD) to delay issuing voter-approved Measure C bond funds.

“It is imperative that the elected Board of Trustees review their procurement policies and procedures before moving forward with the dispersal of the $485 million bond,” said Tate Hill II, president & CEO of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. “The local, small, minority business community is consistently shut out of opportunities because of current practices still in place to this day.”

Sixty-five percent of Fresno, Madera, Tulare and Kings counties’ voters approved Measure C’s $485 million bond in June.

With SCCCD serving areas composed of up to 70 percent minority-majority populations, CVBDP members say it is “crucial” to have true representation reflective of their community.

Blong Xiong, former Fresno city councilmember and chair of the Asian Business Institute & Resource Center, said that the SCCCD must “extend its diversity from its classrooms to its business contracting.”

Citing the area’s current “high level” of double-digit unemployment, “contracting of small and diverse firms, of which make up 90 percent and 52 percent respectively of all businesses in the Fresno area, is crucial to the creation of jobs for the future of economic prosperity and revitalization in the Central Valley,” stated a press release issued by the CVBDP.

“Procurement and contracting of local, diverse and veteran businesses would yield opportunities for growth and expand career development for job-seekers,” the release also stated.

“Despite countless meetings with District Administrators and insufficient action, the CVBDP calls for clarity regarding current practice, policies and procedures,” the release said. “In addition to demanding, at minimum, annual public disclosure of those awarded contracts, establishing a transparent and diverse publication of bid opportunities and ensuring our local tax dollars remain here is a must.”

SCCCD Chancellor Dr. Paul Parnell said Wednesday morning that he has already met with CVBDP representatives and is looking forward to working together more closely with the group in the future.

“Our bidding processes all follow the law,” Parnell said. “We’ve started sending out our construction announcements and RFP’s (requests for proposals) to Tate and his group and Tate has assured me that he will pass that information along to all of his people.”

“State Center Community College District appreciates the input from the business representatives,” Parnell added. “The Board of Trustees and staff, in their stewardship responsibilities, values diversity and good community relationships.”

According to their press release, the Central Valley Business Diversity Partnership is “a coalition of community leaders and business owners advocating for local area minority small businesses procurement and outreach.”

Partnership members include the Asian Business Institute & Resource Center, Central California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce and Fresno MBDA Business Center/ U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

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