Sandoval Diversity webCHICAGO – State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) called on Gov. Bruce Rauner this week to explain why the state has fallen woefully short of minority inclusion goals in state contracts.

Sandoval, the Chairman of the Illinois Senate’s Special Committee on Supplier Diversity, addressed a letter to Rauner to find out why the governor’s hand-picked university trustees are not doing more to reach the required Business Enterprise Program (BEP) goal of spending 20 percent of their contractual dollars with businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities.

“Rauner is the governor who appointed the majority of the trustees of each of these universities and who administers CMS,” Sandoval said. “I want to know why he’s allowing universities to neglect these requirements and what his administration intends to do to compel compliance.”

Sandoval has already convened one hearing of the Committee on Supplier Diversity with the goal of finding statutory improvements to encourage or mandate the inclusion of businesses owned by minorities, women and disabled persons in state contracts. At that meeting, many of the universities expressed frustrations with CMS’ inability to maintain an accurate database of BEP-certified vendors.

Sandoval called on the governor to convene a summit with all universities in close consultation with CMS to focus on the topic.

“The state’s hiring practices are a reflection of this governor’s opinion of minority communities,” Sandoval said. “If he wants to be taken seriously as a diversity governor, he has to work harder to include diverse contractors in state hiring.”

Sandoval requested a meeting with the governor to discuss the matter by the end of September. He also plans to schedule future supplier diversity committee hearings in September and October for the purpose of questioning other industries such as hospitals, MCOs, casinos and other emerging industries.

“It’s clear that some in these industries are less than sincere about their corporate supplier diversity programs,” Sandoval said. “Government must lead by example followed by the corporate sector that is beneficiary of public funding.”

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