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Will “female and minority business enterprises” suffer if Human Rights Commission and Director cease operation?

City Hall in Mason City
City Hall in Mason City

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The City of Mason City is currently seeking bidders for a the 2013 Street Panel and Curb Replacement Program and likely many other spring projects.

Reading through the public notice to alert bidders to this project, I came across an interesting paragraph that outlines the role and duties of the Mason City Human Rights Commission and Director as the City selects the winning bidders for its public works projects:

Prospective bidders’ or contractor’s attention is specifically called to the Mason City Human Rights Commission Specifications which mandates that female and minority business enterprises shall be afforded the maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of this project. Prospective bidders’ or contractor’s attention is also directed to the fact that the Mason City Human Rights Commission will notify firms designated as Minority, Women, and/or Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, of this project and determine if they are interested in participating as subcontractors for this project. Prospective bidders or contractors shall then be notified by the Commission of those interested parties. Determination of certification of compliance with those specifications shall be conducted by the Mason City Human Rights Director, following receipt of bids from prospective bidders or contractors. has already reported that Human Rights Director Lionel Foster -although with no intention of resigning- will not be funded by the City Council in next year’s budget. NIT has also reported that the Human Rights Commission has considered dissolution once the council de-funds the agency, leaving only a part-time person to take claims and send them to Des Moines.

If the Human Rights Commission and Director are both gone, will female and minority business enterprises be at a disadvantage?

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Public servants have their own HRC they have nothing to do with the private(honest) sector HRC.

They don’t have to disban unless they want to. Other cities work with a $15,000 budget and there will still be an IHRC with people who will come to Mason City if needed. It’s not the end of the world.

That’s all they do with or without huge funding. The MC HRC doesn’t mediate nor make the final decision. They are the go between the complainant and the state HRC. I’ve personally known people who have utilized the MC HRC and all they did was an intake on information and give an opinion to the party as to whether or not they had a case and did some brief paperwork. They offered nothing in settling the dispute. Please truthfully explain exactly what you think the MC HRC does for a complainant. You can think what you want but intelligent people WILL look thoroughly into what HRC does in MC before they decide to be against the cut.

Matt, is this true?

The HRC is a needed organization. I hope they remain whether they work with $15,000 or $150,000.

Wal-Mart, Target, Shopko, K-Mart, they all treat employees badly. They reduce employees’ hours so they don’t have to furnish health insurance, they discriminate against women, they treat people like a number, they don’t care about anyone. They are the ones who will benefit from Mason City not having a human rights commission.

@Senior native – 1st) The people who work at these places do so willingly and accept the job situation. 2nd) These places are in business to make money. If you need a kind word, suggest your minister or bartender. And the fact that people still shop at these places shows tacit approval for their business methods. Reality isn’t always nice.


March 15, 2013 at 10:16 pm
Not it. I always use my real “fake”name when I post.Matt, it kind of sounds like an old fashion witch hunt that you are calling for. I like this site and I like Matt. I just want a more civil discourse to occur

Good luck. The rule here is you have to pay your 2 bucks to be allowed to be a snarky here and the other rule is you have to smear all city leaders and chamber. Or else you’re OUT!
Also the rule is you have to agree with all that paid 2 bucks too. Or LVS will kick you out.
And if you don’t behave Matt will give a lecture.
Thankfully I saved my 2 bucks for a better cause.

Call me an eternal optimist, I still have hope for this site. Peter has toned down,albeit only slightly, his rhetoric. Matt, Peter LVS and others don’t like the Mayor ,the city council, the chamber,the supervisors and on and on. I get that, BUT they could and should be respectful and not call names.These people are trying to do what they think is right. Are they perfect? Absolutely NOT, but who is? It is easy to take pot shots from the outside. It is MUCH harder to make decisions and have to live with them.VOTE them out but be respectful in the meantime.OK I’m going to get off my soapbox now.

@Reggie-that is life in the limelight. Also, who cares about your opinion. You have been on here forever (an under different names) I am convinced promoting your crap when it is obvious you are a minority on this site. You can go away now and no one will miss you.

Who cares about my opinion? Probably no one,but you should ask yourself the same question.
I have NEVER posted under a different real fake name. It has always been the “Red” Reggie.
You are right that I appear to be in the minority on this site but more posters are coming out of the shadows to fight the good fight.
And just because I know you would really miss me LVS I will continue read and post on this site

@Reggie-as a lackey for the establishment and our drunken mayor (rumor says you are buddy’s) you certainly have the right to post you lies and misrepresentations and we have the right to ignore them.

I am NOT a lackey for the establishment(actually I am quite surprised you knew what that word meant and used it correctly) BUT I would like to be the Mayor’s buddy if in fact he gets free drinks like you claim. One can never get to many free drinks.

I care about Reggie’s opinion. It’s the only one on here that makes sense.
free drinks = smart frugal thinker
I have to stay cuz I’m doing a case study at troll colledge. When the semester’s over I’ll go back under my bridge. maybe.:-)

I hear ya. While forcing others to swallow it, they can’t handle tasting their own medicine. Thankfuly only they have to live with themselves.

Your police chief, when we lived there, selectively enforced city codes. He also failed, in our case, to follow up a thief report, complaining it would take too much time to investigate. When we pressured him, we later learned there were a “couple” of suspect questioned and then the case was dropped.

And don’t even mention the street department…the two higher ups belong a some kind of list!!!

The older I get the less I want to live in Mason City. The city council is all for themselves. You tell me why the 12 street bridge was not fixed at Henkels expense? If it was bookmeyers drive way or tornquist they would have not paid another dime to have it fixed. I can still hear council member hickey say it would take a lot to go after them to fix.

This is just a note for employers both public and private. When the HRC is disbanded it will make it much for difficult and cumbersome for employees to file claims. This should make it easier to rid yourselves of undesirables. Please take appropriate action.

With employees like Mike Lashbrook, other employees need these services. It seems like Lashbrook is always on the receiving end of some lawsuit.

Fair enough Matt, I don’t know enough about the individual cases to comment, only that there are an unusual number of them. I saw something in the Globe about them, but it’s hard to read one line at a time while scrolling carefully, lol.

So why make defamatory comments, when you don’t know you are talking about? Pretty much par for the course from what I have seen from another brick in the wall.

Lashbrook has been sued more than any other chief.

Are you saying all the numerous cases brought against Mike Lashbrook had no merit?

Looks to me that if a company wanted to come here would know what wheels to greese.

The big boys always win. Kuhn is on the council works for Henkel enough said on that tornquist lives next door to the guy from Metal Craft voted on the project enough said their. Sorry to say nothing is good coming for the council now.

There’s still the IHRC to file complaints with. And if no women apply for those positiins who’s fault is that? Can you honestly provide names of women or other people who have tried to acquire those positions or jobs and been turned down or passed over? It’s a WOMAN running the airport isn’t it? People who do nothing but sit on their ass and bitch instead of being doers have no right to complain.

@Matt-this is the same one that I have been bitching about and everyone attacked me over. He changes names like I change my socks and I can only tell who it is by the writing style. If it is not Reggie then it is his evil twin brother.

Not it. I always use my real “fake”name when I post.Matt, it kind of sounds like an old fashion witch hunt that you are calling for. I like this site and I like Matt. I just want a more civil discourse to occur.

You mean businesses like Foster Brothers Construction that stiffed all their suppliers that last time they got a city contract. Matt didn’t you do an article about them feeling it was unfair to pay rent at NIACC after nearly two years of stiffing them to?

It’s a conflict of interest to have Henkel employee’s on boards and in councils.

What is this, like the NYC construction mob rackets.

I was under the impression that Henkel’s insurance company had to pony up when the concrete poured in cold weather apparently froze and failed to meet DOT compression tests. This would have resulted in weakened concrete which I thought was replaced.

Free rent and supplies are what turns a good income.

I do not understand. lets say the HRC has already dissolved. does this mean that the state HRC will notify perspective bidders or contractors? and if they dont, could that mean that all bids are null and void?

Nice article Matt. First of all let me state I believe it should be common sense that work done in Mason City should be done by a Mason City company, not by a out of town or certainly out of state company. I also believe that not only minority owned companys but also smaller companys should be given consideration in procurring these projects why not give a small company or start up a break and help them grown their business, which should be part of the EDC’s focus.

Second please explain the bidding process. Does the city always take the lowest bid? Or does the city just award projects on “connections” to the city. I feel this would be a interesting research project for you. Go thru the last couple of years and see who was getting the majority of the work…I simply dont know.

Thirdly…some projects are just too big for some smaller companys and a biggger firm can do it in a faster and less expensive way. Remember Henkel, Henningson and others employ taxpayers in this town too and its better for them to get the projects vs. somebody from Minnesota or Des Moines.

I agree, Matt. Nice job…and, thank you.

Always been that way in Mason City. Can’t find anyone powerful enough to buck them so they always win.

Those bching should be doers instead of whiners. The truth is in the # of people who DON’T vote in elections then cry about those who are doing something. What have you done for your city lately?

@myname-I can tell you I have not missed voting in a election in the last 20 years. How about you?

Voting equates to little more than “coloring for a cause”. The choices are horrible and the system is broken.

So you are admitting this happened on your watch?

I don’t know who’s on the board of the EDC. It sounds like they would be called the 1% of Mason City. If they are the same contractors submitting bids. wouldnt a conflict of interest prevent them from participating?

Reads like a who’s who of Mason City doesn’t it. No favortizm in that group.

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