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Senate Labor Hearing Held in Jersey City

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Posted by GET NJ on June 19, 2004 at 16:54:48:

Jersey city Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham spoke to more than 250 people dur­ing a Senate Labor Committee Hearing about "Minority Contracting" at the Mary McLeod Bethune Community Center on Martin Luther King Drive in April. The Mayor asked the committee, of which he is a member to come to Jersey City to address the concerns of the minority contractor community.

Cunningham: "Local Panels Needed to Assure Fair Chance"

JERSEY CITY - Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham and his Statehouse colleagues hosted the first full senate hearings in the municipality to focus in on the challenges minority vendors have faced in getting construction contracts.

Hundreds packed the Mary McCleod Bethune Community Center on MLK Drive in late April to voice their concerns to the state Senate Labor Committee regarding their plight in getting a fair share of the $1 billion being spent in Jersey City on public schools construction.

Cunningham, who is a member of the committee and State Senator for the 31st District, brought the hearing to Jersey City because he has frequently heard the plights of local construction companies that have been thwarted in their efforts to get in on the schools construction projects.

“I thought it essential that officials from the state hear first hand on the hurdles and barricades minority contractors are continually facing in order to get a fair chance at getting these jobs,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham was joined on the dais by Chairman of the hearing, Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, and Senator Joseph Coniglio. There were also representatives from the state, including Gerald Murphy, CEO of the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation that has over site over the $8.6 billion that will be spent on state schools between 2000 and 2010.

A number of speakers from the audience relayed their concerns, the consensus stating that they followed all state procedures in qualifying for the contracts but never receive the “hiring” return calls.

“The problem with a number of programs that the state has offered is that the word about them simply isn’t getting out,” Sweeney said.

Cunningham, who is also a member of the Labor Committee, called for the State to better advertise the job availabilities and its specific programs in addition to developing community-based offices that recruit minority contractors for construction projects.

“The trickle down approach hasn’t worked. We need community-based efforts sponsored by the state to ensure that minority and smaller construction venders are not continuously and systematically cut out of the loop,” Cunningham said.

Dozens of minority contractors and laborers in attendance received literature and contact information from other state officials at the meeting to expedite their applications from contracts.

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