Home » Editorial » Equity director hired for Vikings stadium project

ThroughMyEyesnew

For communities of color, he is now the most significant player

 

Congratulations to Alex Tittle on being appointed equity director for the Vikings stadium by the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA), as announced Friday, June 14. Welcome, Mr. Tittle, to an historic task.

A nine-year Army veteran (company commander and platoon leader) and interim director of the Office of Civil Rights, MN Department of Transportation, Mr. Tittle, will now be the most significant player on the Minnesota civil rights stage.

I urge Mr. Tittle to read the results of my research as reported in this paper regarding the lack of diversity, equity and fairness in Minneapolis and Minnesota hiring (archived on my website).

I urge Mr. Tittle to hold hearings, as authorized by the stadium legislation, in order for all to see whether plans submitted regarding equity commitment execution are actually followed. That includes the developer for the stadium, Mortenson, to see their commitment in public and in writing, with their acknowledgement that the legislation allows enforcement of any material breach by any or all not in compliance. The stadium legislation authorizes such hearings in Section 19, Provision 473.j15, entitled “Criteria and Conditions” (see Sub Paragraph 9).

Mr. Tittle has the opportunity and authority under Section 15-473j.11, “Stadium Design and Construction,” as well as lines 15.31 and 15.34 through line 16.30, to impose specific conditions, in concert with the authority and the Vikings.

The legislation also vests Mr. Tittle with the authority to research the history of those who would be pre-qualified. Specific provision is under Section 17.473j.12, entitled “Employment,” at lines 18.33, through 19.13. The African American community and its leadership need to review these sections for specific tasks that will make it easier for Mr. Tittle to carry out his responsibilities.

Mr. Tittle needs to know that the Kansas City Group, Gentleman of the Round Table, as identified in previous columns, is prepared and ready to deliver qualified, skilled African Americans to work on the people’s stadium.

I encourage Mr. Tittle to work closely with Kevin Warren, Vikings vice president of legal affairs and chief administrative officer and the highest-ranking African American business executive with an NFL team. He was a member of the Stadium Equity Review Panel.

In February, Mr. Warren stated, “The Vikings and the Authority are committed to ensuring a diverse and talented workforce on this project. We have worked hard to put together a comprehensive equity plan — one that will focus on outreach, recruitment, training and employment of all Minnesotans and will ensure inclusion of minorities, women and veterans.” Missing are the words “hiring” and “African Americans.”

We expect Mr. Tittle and Mr. Warren to work closely together to keep their bosses, the NFL, and our community fully apprised of compliance regarding inclusion goals, including the category of “African American,” not just the category of “minorities.”

There must be no repeat of the MN State Capitol disaster highlighted by J.E. Dunn Construction of Kansas City, who confronted the State of Minnesota with evidence showing no qualified African Americans in Minnesota in certain categories and disciplines in refurbishing of the State Capitol, despite claims of our community leaders to have trained African Americans in the skills needed to perform within every trade category. (So what did they spend that $10 million on that they were given to train workers in those skills?)

There must be no repeat of the scathing audit by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, issued on May 13, 2013, regarding MnDOT’s failure to comply in diversity hiring (using the GFE — good faith effort — escape hatch). There must be no repeat of Twins and Gophers stadium non-compliance; they hired few African Americans, resulting in more scathing reports on non-compliance.

There must be no repeat of what a former African American director of Minneapolis Civil Rights Department said: “We can meet all our minority hiring requirements without hiring a single African American.”

For all of these examples, understand this: Making non-compliance legal through “good or best efforts” doesn’t make it right.

An early and important task for Mr. Tittle is to select who will monitor hiring equity (verification of contracts, percentage of MBEs and WBEs, actual work hours). I encourage Mr. Tittle to go beyond the literal following of the MSFA Construction Services Agreement Equity Plan’s Targeted Business goal of 20 percent (11 percent women-owned businesses; nine percent minority-owned businesses) and Targeted Workforce goal (32 percent minorities and six percent women) in all hours worked, so as to document how many African Americans are hired by number and percentage, not just as among “minorities.”

We have been given a second chance as a city and a state to do the right thing. May Mr. Tittle, Mr. Warren, the Vikings, the NFL, Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Sports Authority open a wide door of equity, a door that leads to success for all.

We wish success for all involved in the construction of the people’s stadium.

Stay tuned.

 

For Ron’s hosted show’s broadcast times, solution papers, archives, and how to order his books, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com, which also has his “Solution Paper #46,” “Disparity/Compliance Studies,” and blog entry of April 20, 2013, on the Vikings stadium legislation.

 

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