Friday, April 20, 2007

Cuyahoga County once again recycles failure

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:39 PM

Cuyahoga County just can't get enough leaders. Former County Commissioner Jim Petro was The Laziest Man in Government as state attorney general, and failed miserably in his bid to be a gubernatorial candidate. Yet as soon as he left Columbus, the county was quick to snap him back up as a $200-an-hour consultant. Now the county is extending the same courtesy to Alfonso Sanchez. You may remember him as the Turner Construction vice president who, in the early '90s, turned a blind eye to rampant minority front-company scams during the building of the Rock Hall ("Lone Ranger," April 11). As Port Authority monitor Bob Dean gathered evidence that more than two dozen black and female-owned contractors were simply handing their work back to white companies, Turner officials fought him every step of the way. The fronts kept getting work. And so did Sanchez. Last year, county officials hired him to advise them on building their new administrative headquarters downtown. According to Deputy County Administrator Lee Trotter, Sanchez will be paid about $148,000 the first year, $120,000 the next, and less as the project progresses. He was hired, Trotter says, for his expertise in managing massive construction projects — not to make sure minority firms get work. This being county government, they have a whole other department in charge of screwing that up. Still, it's hard not to notice the pattern. Two years from now, when the news breaks that the crews pouring concrete for the new county building were alarmingly pale, you'll know who to blame. — Lisa Rab

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