Friday, February 01, 2008

Racial Equity Volunteers to Monitor Monday School Board Committee Meeting

Press Contacts: Celeste Taylor, 412-670-0937 & Tim Stevens, 412-758-7898

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Pittsburgh -- In response to the Pittsburgh Public Schools reluctance to enact recommended improvements in Minority Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) practices, Racial Equity Monitors will be deployed to Monday's School Board Meeting.

Monday's PPS MBWE meeting provides the first full discussion of recommendations made to the board by Dr. Ralph Bangs in June 2007. These recommendations would move the district forward in ensuring that employees and contractors for PPS reflected the diversity of the population it serves. Most municipalities, including State and Federal levels, have such hiring/contracting stipulations.

The Racial Equity Monitoring Project (REMP) will deploy observers in order to monitor the meeting. The monitors will not only gather information but serve as a conduit to the community so that the Board can be held accountable for both progress and delays. "Though the meeting is an important step, we need to make sure that it represents a step towards real and tangible results," stated Celesete Taylor, Project Coordinator. "We will have monitors there to ensure that the School Board knows the public expects them to honor these commitments, as well as to keep these proceedings in the light of public scrutiny."

Also attending Monday's meeting will be Michael Lamb, City Controller. The controllers office is planning an audit this spring of the Pittsburgh Public Schools specific to facilities management and MBWE compliance. This audit will go hand in hand with REMP's efforts to create transparency and accountability.

The Racial Equity Monitoring Project (REMP), helps bring the processes of official agencies back to the community in order to ensure that meetings, policies, agencies and events designed to provide equal opportunity and treatment for minorities (particularly African Americans) serve their established purpose. The project, an initiative of the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) receives funding from a Heinz Endowment seed grant.

What: Monitoring School Board MWBE Committee Meeting

When: Monday, February 4, 2008, 6:00 p.m.

Where: Board Committee Room
341 South Bellefield Avenue, Oakland
I think that this is one of the first significant sightings of Michael Lamb since he was sworn into office. Well, to be fair, so far Mr. Lamb has:

1. On election night, he claimed he wanted to hire outside consultants.
2. The outside consultants were to do an audit of the city's auditors.
3. Spoke after talking the oath of office and told everyone of meeting his wife -- and how he picked her up at a bar -- but is very good with numbers!
4. Made mention somewhere that the workers in the office will look professional. Did they get the new threads yet? Logo shirts drive productivity in Grant Street offices, right?
5. Showed up at the Black & White Reunion. Good.
6. ... what else ... ???

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