City of Saint Paul - Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity (HREEO) Newsletter -- August 2010


Director's Corner (Second Quarter 2010)

Luz María FríasAs I reflect on the second quarter of this year, it is clear that a significant amount of our time has been expended on ensuring the successful launch of COMET, which stands for City Operations Modernization and Enterprise Transformation. It is a business software solution that will modernize and transform everything from City budget planning, all purchasing transactions across the city, to submitting timesheets. If you do your personal banking or shopping online, you already know how technology has made those transactions easier.

The COMET project will impact our Procurement work in the following ways:
  • Improve the enforcement of utilizing master service agreements, which is expected to save the City over $1 million in the first year;
  • Experience improved vendor pricing through aggregated spending and allow us to analyze patterns which can result in more volume purchasing discounts;
  • Update our Purchasing Manual while incorporating Best Practices;
  • Provide a user-friendly online shopping feature that will simplify the purchasing process for our 17 city departments; and
  • Strengthen purchasing card reconciliation and usage controls.

The Department of Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity’s (HREEO) involvement with COMET began a year ago, in August 2009. Since then, we reallocated work schedules of existing staff to respond to the day-to-day COMET needs and hired short-term personnel for data migration associated with thousands of vendor files. Over the past year, we’ve climbed a steep mountain and have accomplished significant milestones along the way.

Specifically, our team has done a great job with cleaning up vendor data and also making sure that our Master Contract information is ready to be loaded into the Lawson system. While City staff has been hard at work on those preparations, the City & CIBER Procurement Leads have been working with key stakeholders on areas such as: finalizing the Lawson System Design details, creation of the Strategic Sourcing portal, writing dozens of test Scripts and tackling the COMET role mapping.

Lastly, our scheduled “Go Live” date of January 1, 2011 has impacted our year-end planning and accelerated our end of year purchasing options across city departments making it a busier time of year. Our COMET role is expected to continue well beyond the Go Live date as we take an active role in training department staff across the 17 city departments on the new streamlined purchasing process.

Luz María Frías

“LEED”-ing the Way to a Greener Saint Paul

by Lisa Bartels, HREEO; Photos courtesy of Kurt Schultz, PED

If you’ve followed the news on construction lately, you’ve certainly heard about buildings earning LEED certification. Most people know that LEED has something to do with being “green”, but what exactly does that mean?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) is a standard for sustainable building design developed by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Like other green-certification programs, LEED is voluntary. Building owners, architects and developers decide they want their new, expanded or renovated building to be environmentally friendly, and choose LEED as a way of guiding, gauging, and certifying the measures chosen.

To further support citywide sustainable building and development initiatives, CAS hired a new buyer, Lisa Bartels, in April of this year. Bartels is a LEED Accredited Professional with a specialty in building design and construction. The LEED AP buyer is available to work with other city and county departments on obtaining LEED certification for construction projects. The City now employs seven LEED Accredited Professionals.

LEED focuses on reducing the impact that buildings have on the environment, both during construction and with everyday use after completion. According to the USGBC, “buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity.”

Some of the basic areas that LEED measures are site selection, energy and water conservation, indoor environmental quality, material selections, waste reduction, and operations and maintenance.

Because certification requires extra time and money, some owners opt to apply LEED standards to their building projects, but not go for the certification. Official certification, however, can have long-term benefits in marketing the building to future tenants or buyers and providing assurance that goals were met. For publicly owned buildings, certification provides third-party verification that structures will have a lower impact on the environment, reduce energy, water and other operation costs, and provide a healthier environment for building occupants and users. LEED is just one of a handful of green certification programs; others include Minnesota Green Communities (for homes) and ANSI National Green Building Standard.

The City currently has two LEED certified or registered buildings: the Western District Police Station and the new fire department headquarters on West 7th Street, which was built to LEED standards and is currently awaiting certification.

Whether a building is certified as sustainable or not, building to standards such as LEED makes sense for minimizing the impact on the environment and creating spaces that are healthier and more pleasant for people to work and live.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles on the City’s LEED certified buildings.

Saint Paul RiverCentre Hosts 14th Annual Hispanic Marketing Midwest Conference

Hispanic Marketing Conference

The Saint Paul based, Aguilar Productions teamed together with New York Life to organize the 14th annual Hispanic Marketing Midwest Conference. Over 70 marketing executives, business and community leaders arrived on June 16th to listen to “premier marketers” share tactics and ideas to reach the one trillion dollar U.S. Hispanic Market. Jim Lusk of New York Life declared “we are pleased to present this important conference and were very impressed with the speakers, the RiverCentre and the great turnout.”

One of the many highlights of the conference was the 6th annual Hispanic Marketing Midwest Awards Luncheon which focused on “celebrating excellence in Hispanic marketing”. Award recipients included: Delores Kunda, President/CEO of Lapiz Hispanic Marketing, Chicago, IL and Martin Cerda, Founder and Research Director of Encuesta, Inc, Miami, FL. Kunda received the Hispanic Marketing Achievement Award, while Cerda was a recipient of the Award for Achievement in Hispanic Marketing Research “the HispanSource” award. “HispanSource”, the online source for Hispanic Marketing information created by Aguilar Productions, and the James J. Hill Business Reference Library in Saint Paul collaborated in organizing the luncheon.

Mayor Chris Coleman and Governor Tim Pawlenty issued Certificates of Commendation to the award receipients for their community involvement and achievements in the Hispanic Marketing Industry. Luz Maria Frias, Director of Saint Paul’s Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity Department presented the Certificates to Dolores Kunda and Martin Cerda on behalf of Mayor Coleman and Rick Aguilar presented the State of Minnesota certificates on behalf of Governor Pawlenty.

The conference was attended by representatives of the Minnesota Twins, U.S. Bank, Bluestem Brands, MidCountry Bank, New York Life, H.& R. Block, Augeo Affinity Marketing, City of Saint Paul, MN Dept of Agriculture, Bymore SuperMercado, Milestone Growth Fund, GoLatino, Insurance Planners, as well as many others. The attendees heard presentations from: Jim Legg of The San Jose Group, Chicago, IL; Carlos Santiago of Santiago ROI, Los Angeles, CA; Nannette Rodriguez of Innova Ideas & Services, Des Moines, IA; and David Kristal of Augeo Affinity Marketing, St. Paul, MN.

Stay tuned for updates on upcoming Marketing Midwest Conferences.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Conference

Readus Fletcher, the Deputy Director of HREEO and Supervisor of the Human Rights division, attended an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) conference in Philadelphia, PA from June 9-11. This annual conference brings together the EEOC and Fair Employment Practices Agencies (FEPAs) in order to discuss the previous year’s performance as well as current and emerging issues and future implications.

One of the topics raised at the conference was the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA) and the new ways with which to combat discrimination on the basis of a person’s genetic disposition. Other topics included the American Disabilities Act (ADA), along with its recent amendments, and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, President Obama’s first signed bill. Additionally, the conference touched on an increased scrutiny in regards to employment discrimination related to criminal records.

The conference provided a number of Best Practices presentations, including: “Race and Social Economic Justice” by the City of Seattle; “Race Discrimination and Criminal Records” by the Legal Services of the City of Philadelphia; and “Cooperation between Federal, State, and Local Offices” by the City of New Orleans and the City of Kansas City.

The EEOC and FEPAs are both responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against an employee or job applicant because of the person’s race, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or genetic information. Mr. Fletcher was one of several hundred EEOC and FEPA practitioners who attended the Philadelphia conference.

More information about the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can be found on the Human Rights website.

A Great Time for Praise

Readus Fletcher

Each year the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal honors the area's top minority business owners, corporate executives, and advocates by giving them a Minority Business Award. This year, HREEO’s Readus Fletcher was one of the award recipients. Of course, it would prove difficult to get Fletcher to speak about his award and about all the ways in which he has contributed to bettering the City of St. Paul. Thankfully, Fletcher has friends, and his friends do not mind speaking for him.

One such friend, Richard Aguilar, nominated Fletcher for the 2010 Minority Business Award. Aguilar is the President of Aguilar Productions, a company that produces conferences, seminars, workshops and special events that focus on multicultural markets. Aguilar has known Fletcher for 20 years, he first met Fletcher back when Fletcher was in business for himself; they met again later when Fletcher began working for the City.

“He [Fletcher] has always been involved with helping minority businesses,” Aguilar said during a phone interview, “and now that there is finally a program [HREEO] put together, I figured it was a great time to give praise to Readus.” Aguilar knows what it takes to be worthy of a Minority Business Award, not only has he nominated two previous winners, but he personally received an Award during the initial years of the Award’s existence. Aguilar believes that Fletcher’s award and recognition is “well-deserved.”

Bruce Corrie, dean of Concordia University’s College of Business and Organizational Leadership, has worked with Fletcher in constructing a process that provides small and diverse businesses advance notice of large municipal construction projects in order for those businesses to prepare to bid on contracts.

Corrie was quoted in an article written by Nancy Crotti in the June 25th edition of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal as saying that Fletcher has a “very strong voice.” According to Corrie, Fletcher is “a new voice of how we should grow minority business in Minnesota. It’s kind of a proactive new vision that has gained traction and has shown that it’s doable and possible. But I don’t think until now he was recognized for those kinds of works that he’s done.”

Readus Fletcher has had many accomplishments in his lifetime, yet they seem to go largely unnoticed. A large reason for Fletcher’s glossed over achievements may be due to the fact that, as Crotti so precisely wrote in her article, Fletcher is “quiet perhaps, but busy.” Hopefully, Fletcher’s 2010 Minority Business Award will shed a little more light on the vastness of his efforts.

Nancy Crotti’s full article on Readus Fletcher can be found online

2010 U.S. Census Update

2010 Census award

Through the extensive outreach efforts of numerous City staff and community partners, the City of Saint Paul attained a 77% participation rate as of April 27, exceeding the nationwide participation rate of 72% and the City’s 2000 census participation rate of 74%.

With the mail-back participation phase of the 2010 U.S. Census complete, census activities at the City of Saint Paul wrapped up at the end of May. The Mayor’s Census Task Force held their last meeting on April 28 and the City’s Census coordinators, Leila Paye and Brian Joyce, ended their work with the City. However, the 2010 Census is still on-going and HREEO staff, Lucie Passus, will continue to monitor it until it is complete.

On August 12, 2010, HREEO received an award from the U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the City of Saint Paul for its leadership and partnership in making the 2010 Census successful. Not only were participation rates up at the City, but also around the country and as a result of extensive partnership work at the local level, the 2010 Census budget returned $1.6 billion to the federal treasury.

The U.S. Census Bureau is currently conducting quality assurance operations to ensure an accurate count of the U.S. population. Once this operation phase is complete, final population counts will be delivered to President Obama in December 2010 for apportionment and a complete delivery of redistricting data will be released to states in March 2011.

Stay tuned for more information on the 2010 Census in the next newsletter.

HREEO Welcomes New Federal Labor Standards Compliance Officer

Hello, my name is Alex Dumke and I am the new Federal Labor Standards Compliance Officer for the City of Saint Paul. My primary responsibility is to ensure that laborers are paid prevailing wages on federally-funded construction projects. I am also available to help contractors comply with Davis Bacon Act requirements, and investigate complaints of underpayment of prevailing wages.

Complying with prevailing wage payroll requirements is now easier than ever! The City of Saint Paul has purchased a new application for contractors to submit certified payrolls, called LCPtracker. Contractors will no longer submit certified paper-payrolls, but will instead submit payrolls electronically through the internet. LCPtracker is a free service to contractors that will greatly improve the efficiency of submitting payrolls as well as helping to prevent the underpayment of laborers.

Please contact me with any Federal Labor Standards or LCPtracker questions at or at 651-266-8900. I am happy to help!

Coming Up . . .

Invest Saint Paul Community Days
Invest in StP community days Community Days is Saint Paul's way to touch base with its neighborhoods and to let residents interact directly with City staff. In total, Saint Paul will have four events in 2010 where City staff and staff members from non-profit organizations will set-up tables and discuss with the public what services are needed and how to access available resources. The last Community Days event will be held at Frogtown Fest on Saturday, August 21st at West Minnehaha Rec Center, 685 Minnehaha Ave. West, from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Visitors to the Community Days event can expect:
  • Representatives from each City department
  • Information on City & community resources
  • Games & arts and crafts for kids
  • FUN for the whole family
  • Snacks and refreshments
  • Bookmobile & Fire Truck

In addition, Staff is available to provide information on:
  • Foreclosure prevention
  • Health and wellness
  • Buying a home in Saint Paul
  • City loans -- starting or developing a business
  • Fire prevention and safety
  • Licensing and code requirements

Public Schools, Police, Fire, HREEO, and many more agencies and departments will continue greeting and helping the public in their neighborhoods. If you see a Community Days event near you, share it with your neighbors to help us reach out and connect with all of Saint Paul.

Getting to Know More About . . .

Remanufactured Toner Cartridges
Through the collaborative work of HREEO-CAS buyer, Bonnie Lundgren; Best Practices Officer, Lucie Passus; and the Mayor’s office, all City of Saint Paul departments were directed to start purchasing and using remanufactured toner cartridges effective July 2010. This directive enables the City of Saint Paul to continue its commitment to help the environment while producing cost-savings for residents.

Each year, millions of empty toner cartridges are thrown in the trash, destined for landfills and incinerators. A typical used toner cartridge contains 40% plastic made of engineering-grade polymers, 40% metal and smaller percentages of rubber, paper, foam, and toner. Altogether, a single toner cartridge is estimated to take at least 1,000 years to decompose.

Purchasing and using remanufactured toner cartridges instead of original equipment manufactured (OEM) toner cartridges saves money and energy while minimizing waste.

Remanufactured toner cartridges:
  • are depleted cartridges that are refilled and re-used
  • can be remanufactured up to four times
  • contain up to 20 percent more toner or ink
  • save up to 12 quarts of fuel (3 quarts of oil are burned to produce a single new toner cartridge)
  • decrease the amount of plastic, steel, aluminum, and rubber sent to landfills and burned in incinerators
  • are 30% to 60% less expensive on a cost per copy basis than OEM cartridges

By making the switch to remanufactured toner cartridges, the City of Saint Paul is set to realize an approximate cost-savings of $47,601 per year and a reduction in toner cartridge expenses by 46%.

Limited English Proficiency (LEP) Initiative
As part of the LEP initiative led by HREEO staff, Lucie Passus, a small, but notable feature was added to the City of Saint Paul’s website that enables the translation of content on the City of Saint Paul’s website.

Located beneath the 'Print Friendly' and 'Email Page' options of each web page is a Google™ Translate drop down box. Visitors to the City’s website can now use this tool to translate the City’s content to the language of their choice. Visit to try out this new website feature.

On July 16, 2010, the HREEO Department sent a request to various community organizations that serve Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals for feedback on the City of Saint Paul’s LEP plan draft. Comments and suggestions were requested by e-mail before August 12, 2010 to or in person at a public meeting on August 12, 2010 from 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at Neighborhood House, 179 Robie Street East, Saint Paul, MN 55107.

Stay tuned for future information on the City’s LEP plan and progress.

HREEO Department Website Redesign
Led by Lucie Passus and Gessner Rivas and spanning a course of 7-months of planning and execution, the HREEO Department debuted its redesigned website on July 1, 2010.

Visitors to the renovated HREEO website will notice a new look and feel, including calendar features, lists of frequently asked questions, and quick links options, all located on the right hand side of each HREEO webpage. The left hand side of each HREEO webpage provides an organized list of the department’s division functions. Highlights of the redesigned website include: HREEO newsletters that are now available to view online; completion of the Contract Compliance and Business Development Division pages; and a dedicated HREEO publications and resources page.

Browse through the redesigned HREEO website by visiting and sign up for the HREEO quarterly newsletter.


If you have any ideas or suggestions for HREEO's future newsletters, please feel free to contact Luis Morales at, or at 651-266-8900.

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