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Hospital to boost minority contracting
By Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer
Published February 26, 2008
TAMPA - The head of Tampa General Hospital said Monday he is taking steps to ensure the trauma center does a better job of awarding minority contracts in the future.
Still, TGH president and chief executive officer Ron Hytoff expressed some frustration that the issue continues to dog his administration.
"Nobody says you're doing a good job," Hytoff said during a meeting of the Hillsborough County Hospital Authority, the government body that oversees the lease of the publicly owned hospital to the private company that runs it. "You've got a great hospital here. Think of some positive things for a change."
His comments came as some board members of the Hospital Authority renewed complaints that minorities, particularly black-owned companies, win few contracts with the hospital. The board members came equipped with lease and policies language that require the hospital to make minority contracting a priority.
The St. Petersburg Times reported last year that black-owned firms had won only $4,599 worth of more than $140-million in construction work over the past two years as TGH undertook a major expansion.
Hospital Authority board member Frank Reddick said he and other officials have raised concerns about limited minority contracting at TGH for more than a decade.
"To that point, there was no effort to improve any of those numbers," Reddick said.
Hytoff told the board there is an effort now to both improve those numbers and better report the amount of money going to minority subcontractors, which may not be captured in recent accounting.
Board member Victor Leavengood said he is confident the hospital administration is taking the issue seriously, arguing there is no need to keep raising the issue.
"I think we've beaten a dead horse," he said.
However, board member and Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White said the hospital's own procedures show the hospital should have been reporting subcontractor numbers in the past. That they weren't shows a need to make sure the issue is taken seriously.
"I have no doubt in my mind that Ron wants to do the very best he can for everybody involved," White said. "I believe it's on the forefront of his agenda now."
To that end, Hospital Authority board members were introduced to Tanita Montgomery, hired a little more than two weeks ago by TGH as minority business relations manager. She replaces former state Sen. Les Miller, who held a similar job.
Montgomery previously worked as a supplier diversity analyst for Wachovia Securities in Richmond, Va., as a contract compliance coordinator for Duval County Public Schools, and as a program coordinator in procurement and minority business development for the Jacksonville Electric Authority.