Ronda Vangates, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools district officer charged with overseeing the system’s contracts and awards to women and minority business owners, may be removed from her position after less than seven months.
An item calling for her reassignment to urban affairs and opportunity officer, in the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, Grants Administration, will be discussed at the July 12 regular school board meeting. If school board members accept the recommendation, the change goes into effect immediately.
Friday afternoon, Vangates said she she was still processing the information, when asked how she felt about the potential reassignment.
“I feel like I was blindsided and not given an opportunity to do the work for which I was hired, and for which I am qualified to do,” Vangates said.
Vangates was named director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in December. That office is tasked with implementing the B2G Now software system that would track the school district’s commitment to diversity in contracting, vendor awards and hiring. That commitment was a key component that Superintendent Alberto Carvalho used to sell the 2012 $1.6 billion general obligation bond in the Black community.
Vangates said she never got a chance to perform in that function, and that she was unaware that changes were afoot.
She heard at 2 p.m. Friday when she was called into the chief HR director’s office. He told her she was being reassigned to the new office of urban affairs because they needed her “to flesh out what that office would look like.”
Ron Frazier, architect and chairman of the district’s Small Business Enterprise advisory committee expressed concern about the district’s commitment to transparency.
“The removal of Ronda Vangates from the OEO department reinforces my personal opinion that there is going to be more of a lack of transparency and accountability on the part of the district as it relates to the small business program,” said Frazier said Friday.
“There are a lot of issues and irregularities that have happened in the OEO department over the last 4.5 years,” Frazier said. “The district has turned a deaf ear to them, without proposing any kind of resolution. The department now will continue to have a lack of credibility.”
Miami Times Executive Editor Carolyn Guniss contributed to this report.