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Businessman seeks to meet with commissioners about hiring preferences

Man wants meeting with commissioners

Monday, June 17, 2013 9:38 PM
Last updated 10:29 PM
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Augusta businessman A.K. Hasan is demanding an audience before the Augusta Commission on Tuesday to voice concerns about his treatment by Turner Construction, the city’s general contractor on $40 million in renovations at the Augusta Municipal Building.


In a Thursday e-mail to commissioners and the media, Hasan said Turner project manager Jennifer Henderson made the “bold announcement” at the pre-bid conference that Turner would utilize no preference for women or minorities in its award of bids to electrical subcontractors, while Hasan, who is black, was the only minority in the room.

Later, she followed up with an e-mail to Hasan telling him he was “not qualified,” for various reasons, to bid on the project, he said.

“What has happened to the concept of allowing bidders to complete the process before declaring them a nuisance?” Hasan said, seeking an emergency commission vote to allow him to speak about the matter Tuesday.

Hasan said he’d previously worked as a subcontracted equipment supplier alongside Hebbard Electric on a project at Fort Gordon overseen by general contractor Tetra Tech, and intended to forge a similar relationship with electrical contractor Kelly Peel on the Municipal Building job to address any qualification issues. Electrical contractors Keith Hebbard of Alrich Electric, John Hebbard of Hebbard Electric and Peel also attended the June 12 conference.

Augusta commissioners cited the open subcontract bid in declining to speak about the matter.

“The question was asked if there were any goals for the project,” Schroeder said. While Atlanta-based Turner aspires to use 20 percent women and minorities in other cities, it doesn’t do so in Augusta, she said, because of a court order enjoining the city from using raceorgender-based preference in the award of contracts.

Peel said, however, that the contractors had already been informed about Turner not using preference at an earlier meeting.

“It was just so unprofessional,” he said of Henderson’s statements. “We just wanted to quote the project.”

Hasan’s assertion comes at a time of heightened sensitivity to race and contractor behavior.

The commission is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to extend the contract of Heery International, project manager over the Municipal Building project for two years despite questions about billing practices, and whether to hire a single person to serve as Equal Employment Opportunity Director and Director of Minority and Small Business Opportunities as specified in the city charter.

Commissioner Marion Williams, who is calling Tuesday wants to hire a “county attorney” as specified in the charter, said two women, Jacqueline Humphrey and Yvonne Gentry, were hired to serve as EEO and small business department heads a few years ago because “it was so much work for one person to do.”

The hiring proposal upset Commissioner Bill Lockett when Commissioner Joe Jackson attempted to add it to the administrative services committee agenda. Lockett said the hire would eliminate the jobs of both Humphrey and Gentry.

“I shut it down. I wouldn’t allow it,” said Lockett, who is seeking a “no confidence” vote Tuesday on General Counsel Andrew MacKenzie, in part for advising Jackson on the issue.

Jackson, meanwhile, said hiring a director would create a single position, “accountable to the commission,” to oversee equal employment and disadvantaged business issues.

“They need a boss,” Jackson said. “It’s not against them.”

Commissioner Donnie Smith said it was unusual that Lockett, who speaks out about equal rights, opposed a move that might allow the city to collect the disparity data it needs for the race and gender injunction to be lifted.


Other items on Tuesday’s commission agenda include:

• A proposal to merge First Tee of Augusta and Augusta Municipal Golf Course and spend $1.9 million in sales tax dollars to redesign “The Patch” as a shorter course

• A timeline and budget for several landscaping, lighting and other improvements at Augusta’s Riverwalk

• A 252-unit apartment complex at 1034 Alexander Drive and 2000 Fleetwood Drive

• An appeal by Timothy Lowery on the commission’s suspension of the alcohol and business license of Skittlez Bar and Grille

• A proposal to hire Ellis Albright and the CSRA Business League to assist with minority business development

• A 4 p.m. meeting of the commission’s ethics subcommittee and a 4:30 p.m. closed-door session with attorneys

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just an opinion
just an opinion 06/17/13 - 10:09 pm
If a racial preference is required...

I'll temporally promote my lady friend who is part American Indian to CEO and part owner of my business. I'll then be assigned the contract. (For those of you who do not know how this works basically I get the contract based on RACE at a higher than market price then sub it out to a qualified contractor for market price and and let them do the actual work. I'll keep the difference and do nothing except meet the quota.) $$!

thauch12 06/18/13 - 02:34 am
And we have to ask why we're going broke...

Since when does race/gender have anything to do with submitting the lowest bid to finish a job? It's silliness like this that contributes to projects running millions and millions of dollars over budget.

sassylassie 06/18/13 - 10:05 am
So now we have to report on

So now we have to report on every crybaby in town? Seriously? Mr. Hassn takes offense at it being said that no preferences will be given for minority or women's status so Mr. Hasan is upset that we aren't playing favorites based on race and gender? I think we should be glad that we are not giving preferential treatment to those businesses yet Mr Hasan seems to think someone owes him something based in his minority status? It is individuals such as this that keep Augusta from moving forward--it's racial politics and some individuals need to grow up. Stop hiding behind race and base your merit on performance-as an educated grown up should!
I never cease to be amazed at the racial issues in this town....

seenitB4 06/18/13 - 10:36 am
How true this

There is a whole industry devoted to doing that. Companies are formed strictly for the purpose of getting minority holdback or minority advantage contracts

And we are the losers...over & over....

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 06/18/13 - 11:45 am
Slow Down

Other items on Tuesday’s commission agenda include:

• A proposal to merge First Tee of Augusta and Augusta Municipal Golf Course and spend $1.9 million in sales tax dollars to redesign “The Patch” as a shorter course

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Please, Please, Please: Slow down, commissioners. This proposal was put together hastily by Paul Simon. It has the city taxpayers paying for all improvements. It has city taxpayers paying for all losses. And it has any future "profits" split 50/50 with Simon's outfit.

It is another TEE Center/Marriott parking deck arrangement whereby the city is on the hook for all costs. No accountability from Simon.

Be wary, be very wary. Get some trusted accountants to go over this sales pitch with fine-toothed combs. It's too quick to make an informed decision this afternoon.

rmwhitley 06/18/13 - 04:19 pm
The situation of

women and blacks being placed at the head of lists is moronic, racist, sexist and catastrophic in most cases. There are women and blacks who can lead but to give preferential treatment is both absurd and bad business.

itsanotherday1 06/18/13 - 04:39 pm
The Patch

Now it is operated like a section 8 outfit, which is why the black commissioners want no part of having a private concern run it. It is absurdly cheap to play there, but it is also in absurdly awful shape. No matter the condition, it affords more opportunities for lower income people to play golf, and be subsidized by the ARC taxpayers.

If a private concern takes it over, they would have to double greens fees just to stay in the black, and that isn't including the cost of renovations.

itsanotherday1 06/18/13 - 04:41 pm
Disappointed in AK

I thought he was above that.

nocnoc 06/19/13 - 08:55 am
Don't be fooledMr. Hasan


Too bad he will play the routine of discriminated person because he failed to meet the minimum bid requirements.

While it may look good to some and attract some attention.
A FEDERAL JUDGE ruled against ARC minority set aside and contract process preferences. Even if the ARC Commissioners was PC foolish enough to vote it back in, the Federal woulds quickly fine ARC Commissioners for contempt of court big $$$$$.

No, the days of racial preference are gone.
The once minorities of ARC are now the majority of ARC.
If Minority preference was given out now, the Whites, Hispanics and Asians would qualify for it.

Darby 06/19/13 - 06:00 pm
"I never cease to be amazed at the racial

issues in this town...."

Using the word "issues" suggest some level of legitimacy. There is no legitimacy involved here.

They simply play games at taxpayer expense.

Like the busing thing, it's an issue that was resolved years and years ago.

404Law 06/19/13 - 06:41 pm

Who's editing your articles these days? Sheish. I refuse to believe that you are responsible for forcing this narrative. The past few weeks have been just horrible journalism.

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