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Leaders signal dissatisfaction with Georgia Tech

ALBANY -- The Albany City Commission signaled a desire Tuesday to abandon its Small Business Program facilitator over concerns of costs and productivity.

The commission tentatively voted 3-2, with Commissioners Bob Langstaff and Ivey Hines absent, not to renew a $100,000 contract it has with Georgia Tech to administer its Small Business Program.

While the vote is not binding until taken at Tuesday's regular night meeting, the measure will still need four votes to renew the contract.

Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, along with Commissioners Jon Howard and Christopher Pike voted against renewing the contract, while Commissioners Tommie Postell and Roger Marietta voted in support.

"Before I can vote to renew a contract, I need to see what the accomplishments are, and what you've been able to do with the money we've already given," Hubbard said after the meeting. "And I'm also curious as to how the services you're providing to us for a fee different that what you offer the public for free."

Hubbard said she also had reservations about a change in how the $100,000 fee will be paid out.

Commissioner Christopher Pike said during the meeting that he believes that the services the city is hiring Georgia Tech to perform are similar to ones offered by other organizations like the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and that the city should consider taking advantage of them and possibly saving some money.

"I'll be honest, there are entities here in Albany that do these services for small businesses," Pike said. "I'm concerned we're giving Tech $100,000 and 50 to 60 percent of that is heading to Atlanta. Could we have the 11 businesses using local services?"

Chuck Schadl, the executive director of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Program, told commissioners that he believed the results of the program through January seem to suggest progress.

"I believe that the increase in the number of contract awards suggest we're moving in the right direction," Schadl said.

Schadl said that, under the Albany program, that 11 businesses in Albany and Dougherty County had received $6.3 million in local, state and federal contracts as of November.

Of those 11, five had become certified small businesses through the program and received $1.7 million in government contracts.

In January, the program added six new firms to the mix, Schadl said.

William Wright, the former executive director of the Albany Branch of the NAACP and currently the president and CEO of an agency called the Albany EDC, handed out copies of a press release and a letter addressed to City Manager James Taylor, Hubbard and to commissioners and the media challenging the validity of the Albany program.

"The City of Albany via the so called ASBE has almost completely dismantling (sic) affirmative action for the entire Albany City Commission," Wright writes. "...The Albany Small Business Plan, as in the future, will only operate to destroy Black businesses of the City of Albany."

Comments

Somebody 2 years, 2 months ago

If ASU had the contract they would take 100% of the $100,000.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years, 2 months ago

Yeah why not give that $100,000 to William Wright, head of some fly by night "entity" (there's that word again!) that he made up (Albany EDC) who can't even right two sentences with correct english. That is sure to impress outside interests. This thing kinda stinks of more of the same old same old.

Let's see we paid GT $100,000 and we've gotten back $1.7M into a few local businesses. Sounds like a pretty good investment to me!

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TrixibelleBento 2 years, 2 months ago

Agreed. He keeps pounding the drum for black businesses, but they had the same opportunity to become locally certified as any other small business. I don't think he understood that this program was to help small businesses, no matter who owns them. I don't understand why the CC continues to listen to him. He only exists to stir the racial pot--that's the only thing he knows how to do.

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Justice4Moma 2 years, 2 months ago

"Before I can vote to renew a contract, I need to see what the accomplishments are, and what you've been able to do with the money we've already given," Hubbard said after the meeting.spoken like a true mayor.It not like she has nt been there and seen where the money has gone. Im sure you all can find other money that has gone missing or used for other things than what they were to be used for.Cutliff Grove? Should i say more?

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Insight 2 years, 2 months ago

The information as it is presented can lead to inaccurate conclusions. Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center receives more than $1M dollars per year from the DOD to assist small businesses in Georgia to compete for contracts. All states in the US have this service or can have this service.

The contract GTPAC had with the City of Albany was for additional services to benefit small businesses. Chuch Schdal has not been as forthcoming as he should have been. Also, the information that Chuck Schadl gave concerning the dollars small business have received as a result of Georgia Tech, is misleading.

When you become a client of Georgia Tech, you must report all monies that you have been awarded whether Georgia Tech was helpful or not in you (the small buisness) winning the contract.This report gives the impression that Georgia Tech has been a catalyst in some way to help small business win contracts in the millions. Not true. If the report reflected how many contracts were awarded to small businesses as a result of GTPAC providing assistance at some level, the amount of contract awards would be much much lower,

William Wright is right about the services that Georgia Tech has provided lately is what is covered with the Federal Funds they receive every year. Where William Wright is totally wrong is that the efforts should go strictly to black owned businesses.

Those who have taken advantage of GTPAC services have been mostly minorities. In addition, the service is not to target a specific race of people. Wright is wrong here. Already built into the process are award points that favors small and minority owned businesses when assessing certain proposals. And, it would be in violation of federal law for these federal funds to go solely to educating and assisting one race or group of people over another.

Even if the funds were to target a specfic race, such as blacks or group such as women, then that criteria has been fulfilled anyway by the mere fact that the majority of people who attend the classes and taken advantage of the services have been black and women.

There are more categories of minorities than people who are black. There are women, veterans, disabled veterans, etc. All of these groups, including whites can attend the classes. This is for ALL citizens, not just for a select few.

Now, let's talk about was was not mentioned in the article. What is GTPAC doing with the additional funds that the City of Albany and the Dougherty County paid to assist in small business development? Have they met their contractual obligations with the city and county? Can Chuck Schadl give an detail account of how the funds have been spent? Why is there such a high turnover rate among Georgia Tech Counselors in Albany? What is really going on?

There is much more to this issue than is being reported. Look before you leap and you may find under the rug a bit of dirt.

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