City cuts ties with some locally owned vendors

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Richmond is cutting ties with some of its temporary staffing vendors — some which are minority owned and locally operated small businesses — and turning to a major Georgia-based recruiter.

“Everyone of us got a notice that our contract would not be renewed on June 30th,” explained Billie Brown, President and CEO of Excel Management Services in Richmond.

She has been doing business with the City for 17 years. Brown finds the city sanitation workers, folks to help with snow removal and leaf pickup, as well as clean up in the parks.

“I really do go after and try to place a lot of disadvantaged youth that are here in the City of Richmond,” Brown said.

But that partnership with the minority-owned vendor and others we spoke with based in the city will come to an end on Friday, June 30. The city has contracted with Cortech LLC,  which is a certified minority business enterprise with an office in Richmond. However, it’s a major recruiting company headquartered in Atlanta.

“I live in the City of Richmond and my major client is the City of Richmond,” Brown said.

The mayor’s office tells 8News it’s using Cortech in partnership with a state contract. They say a recent performance report found “partnering on state contracts is seen as an opportunity for significant savings in city government.”

The Mayor’s office went on to say the Department of Public Works did an analysis and also found significant savings, money that could be used for schools or public safety.

Still, Brown sees the move as a blow to local businesses and the city’s economy. Even more concerning, she says Cortech is stealing her employees without even a finder’s fee. Brown says her clients have been told by city supervisors they have to sign on with Cortech or lose their jobs.

“I just think that it’s unfair that a large major company is going to reap the benefits,” Brown said.

The City says the vendors who are complaining don’t have any entitlement to a contract with the city.

The City has changed its practices and is now advertising procurement solicitations in eVA. It’s a statewide online procurement portal with about 100,000 registered vendors. No vendor, including Excel, is precluded for competing. They do have to register with the state.

8News is told the idea is to increase competition and get taxpayers the best deal.

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