An Alameda County contract for $7.5 million is causing a divide between two African American businesses and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Oakland. The three-year contract involves recruiting hundreds of people to work as temporary employees for the county. The company that gets the contract will also handle the temp staff's payroll. The process of awarding the lucrative contract has led to months of lobbying and legal appeals to the county Board of Supervisors. The Board's current top choice is a staffing agency known as TeamPersona, which is owned by a Hispanic woman. However, two rival companies, both run by African American men, allege that the selection process has been unfair.
The two firms are stating that the selection of TeamPersona possibly violates California's 1996 ban on affirmative action, as well as other county rules. They state that the Hispanic female owner has been given preferential treatment, which violates proposition 209. The proposition has banned the consideration of race in contracting for 15 years. Supporters of the woman, however, state that TeamPersona deserves the contract because the company received a top score in an evaluation.