Sellout is defined as a person who betrays a cause, organization, or the like; traitor. Informal. a person who compromises his or her personal values, integrity, talent, or the like, for money or personal advancement.
At the Report Card Press Conference on March 10, 2017, University Health Systems CEO sent his Executive, Sr. Vice President Francine Wilson to inform the media that the Fair Contractor Coalition report, generated and studied by San Antonio’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, was flawed and didn’t reflect the true performance of the public agency. While it appeared that VP Francine Wilson accepted the F grade gracefully, she did do her best to verbally fight back. Maybe she didn’t realize the severity of this community feedback and the hopes to right a series of wrongs. On that day did she learn enough to take notes back to the Board and the CEO?
It doesn’t appear that the F got UHS’s attention. The March 28, 2017 meeting agenda and attachments indicate business as usual. The Report Card wasn’t important for her CEO or Board to address why they are perceived badly.
During the Fair Contractor Coalition presentation of Francine Wilson, there was one East Side company that was present that 100% disagreed with what was said by the UHS Executive. In addressing the FCC, VP Francine Wilson alluded to the fact that local minority companies could not provide the technological solutions required that really make up a majority of their spending purchases. In fact, the argument became an interesting sideline story.
What would enrage the medical supplier business owner to disagree so much with top ranking UHS executive? Certainly the score that was awarded by the chambers of commerce organizations was not made up by any one person. Well this past month we learned why through the Open Records Act. The monthly Board of Directors meeting agenda had several items of interest.
The first for our newspaper was seeing a $350,000 contract award for Hearst Media to advertise in the Express News for staff positions. Two things, the most read newspaper on the East Side – a free newspaper- was not considered, or our community was not considered. Secondly, we have never seen that type of spend with our newspaper. Typically, our African American owned business will receive ad request that are purchased for under a thousand dollars, almost like pennies on the dollar. Several Black Businesses indicate UHS spend pennies with them when they do spend – and like most companies state that they have a very limited budget. When we see this contract proposal, why couldn’t that be broken down to small contract opportunities where we all can do some business? This showed us that VP Wilson’s words are not true. There are services and commodities being bought and sold every day, not technological, that can be shared with a broader community. Again, our taxes do contribute to UHS, and we demand accountability from Hernandez to Wilson to their Board of Directors.
Black Business owners asked key FCC members to pull back the UHS leadership to see if our perceptions were true about UHS. At least two of the media and advertising companies that are African-American owned say the same thing, “It is impossible for us to get in the game with UHS and really have a substantial contract with them.” “Even with a report card, the UHS Executives don’t think we are smart enough to read every agenda and every public report. Their Titanic ship is sinking. After receiving an F grade from the major chambers of commerce organizations, what techniques did UHS try to provide to stop their own bleeding?"
On the cover, you see Board Approved Total Year To Date Awards - there are no African American dollars awarded, No Women dollars awarded, and no Veteran dollars awarded. Yes, the year has just begin, but it seems UHS can make the same tragic mistake the City of San Antonio made, which is to get through a whole year and realize that out of$40 millions spent, $0 was spent with African-Americans in Goods and Supply category.
So we are monitoring and will keep our community alert. The UHS Executive recommending is African American and the CEO is Hispanic American. You can deduce that while the Hispanic community is included in the front of the brain of George Rodriguez, the thought of including an African American spend plan is not a consideration for Francine Wilson.
I know, you may be thinking about UHS’s recent commitment to build a state of the art Hospital Clinic on the East Side named after Dr. Rudyard Hillyard. Yes, this is nice – but we continue to hear from the minority community – the 250,000 readership of our paper – that they are only putting this over here to keep us away from their main hospital. We know that the good intention is not going to generate money for us to significantly benefit. Now is the time to ask to see who will be hired to build this clinic. Who will gain the jobs of this new clinic? What will the pay levels be for those supporting the UHS?
There is a high price to serve as an executive in any company. What we have noted that several African American women who are in positions of great responsibility have refused to fight for the communities that they physically reflect. We called out the San Antonio Housing Authority’s Muriel Rhoder, who is responsible for Human Resources, her call to action is to hire some Black people for some of the Senior Leadership positions that serve a racially diverse community. We see public agencies like SAWS whose Executive Team denies dark complexioned people in their front office as a travesty. There are more violators…
While we fully understand the need to study the public agencies under a minority spend analysis, it is our opinion that it is our newspaper’s focus to call out all major discrepancies. The fact is Black Businesses are not included in the purposeful thoughts of those who spend millions and billions of dollars around San Antonio. The businesses on the East Side are after thoughts. We have given the warning to Executives who are out of touch from the very communities that gave them birth. So in parting, CEO George B. Hernandez, Jr., JD, you have work to do. It’s is time that you should ask the smart questions about UHS spending patterns and take your only African American female Senior Vice President off the cover of public scrutiny.