Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 10/13/2011

Changes at the Ohio Equal Opportunity Division

The Ohio Equal Opportunity Division (“EOD”) at the Department of Administrative Services (“DAS”) is undergoing a restructuring, which could affect your interactions with the division.

EOD, the DAS division tasked with seeking out Ohio’s minority and socially disadvantaged businesses and certifying those businesses in the state’s contracting preference programs, also oversees and monitors the administration of Ohio’s Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) programs. During the Strickland administration, EOD was a consolidated division, housing three units – Certification Unit*, Construction Compliance Unit**, and Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity Unit*** – staffed with EOD managers under the coordination of Ms. Melinda Carter. The new coordinator is Mr. Richard Scott, former interim coordinator and current DAS Associate Legal Counsel.

Mr. Scott is a graduate of Fordham University and Georgetown University Law Center. He is a former Wendy’s franchise owner and was legal counsel in a private law firm. Mr. Scott has served the State of Ohio in various legal capacities since 1991, including as an Assistant Attorney General.

“Richard is a wonderful addition to EOD. He recognizes the intricacies of working within the Ohio statutory framework. As a former business owner, he can relate to the business owners’ compliance issues in the real world,” remarks former DAS Associate Legal Counsel, and current Taft Associate, Tricia Bell.

Not only is EOD under new direction, the three units are to be relocated to new divisions within DAS:

  • Certification Unit will be housed in the DAS General Services Division (“GSD”). GSD is the state’s purchasing arm, tasked with issuing solicitations for all state agencies, boards, and commissions (with some exceptions).
  • Construction Compliance Unit will move under the State Architect’s Office (“SAO”). SAO, under the direction of Mr. Lane Beougher, oversees the design and construction of facilities for state agencies, boards, commissions and institutions of higher education.
  • Affirmative Action / Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO) Unit will remain at the State Office Tower.

This restructuring creates an additional layer of oversight for each unit and its managers. Therefore, any issue with an EOD action may be addressed by a manager, the EOD coordinator, and a DAS division director. “The restructuring makes sense,” says Tricia Bell. “Each unit will now need to work in concert with its sister division. For example, a business owner seeking certification as a Minority Business Enterprise will have to work with EOD and GSD to ensure it can meet the preference program requirements and work with the state’s purchasing policies.”

The physical move for the units began on October 7, 2011. However, the full transition to the new division is expected to take some time.

*Certification Unit (MBE/EDGE) certifies businesses for participation in the Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) programs. EDGE is a business development program for socially and disadvantaged businesses. EDGE establishes goals for state agencies in awarding contracts to EDGE certified businesses. The MBE program assists minority businesses in obtaining state contracts through a set-aside procurement program for goods and services.
**Construction Compliance Unit (CCU) monitors equal employment opportunity (EEO) and affirmative action requirements to ensure contractors bidding and receiving state contracts comply with the State of Ohio’s EEO laws, rules and regulations.
***Affirmative Action / Equal Employment Opportunity (AA/EEO) Unit monitors equal employment opportunity and employment goals to ensure that state employees and job applicants are afforded equal access and opportunities for employment and advancement throughout state government.

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