The School District of Philadelphia
Office of Communications
440 N. Broad Street, Suite 102~
Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015~
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Shana Kemp
December 10, 2010 STATEMENT
MAJORITY OWNED VENDORS AND INTENT TO USE MINORITY FIRMS
The formal process, which indicates that a company actually is serious about using an MWBE firm, is that a two page resolution form is filled out and submitted for review all at once. The second page is an MWBE Plan Participation form, which describes several factors, including the percentage of work that will be done by each minority-owned firm. Each MWBE firm has to sign off, saying yes, they agree to do the work based upon the listed terms.
We've confirmed that SDT never even spoke with one of the firms that the Inquirer mentioned was in an email sent to them until Thursday, December 9, so how could they have been serious about using a firm, which would have been doing a bulk of the job, if they'd never even contacted them? The firm in question would have needed to commit staff and make preparations to work on such an extensive job and yet they were never formally contacted even though SDT suggested that they would receive over a third of the job.
The principal of that company wasn't even in the country at the time SDT's walk-on resolution was drafted. Nor, did he ever even sign a form saying he'd do the work before he left—a form that is required in order for a walk-on resolution to occur. This is a mandate that's been in place since 2003.
Why the individual who actually wrote the resolution did not complete the Minority Participation Plan form is something we hope our internal investigation will uncover as we look at the entire walk-on resolution process.
Without that form, no matter how many firms were in a memo or email that was sent to the Inquirer, we have no indication that a majority firm is actually serious in its suggested intent to use a minority firm in question.
Before 2003, when the sign-off requirement was enacted, in our review of several proposals, we discovered that the names of minority vendors were being used without their permission. As in, once we called them, they indicated that they had no idea that they were being listed in order to meet the requirement. This was unacceptable then and it's unacceptable now.