Controversial interview with new county manager?

Warren Wright

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Controversial interview with new county manager?

CREATED Oct. 11, 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla.- Lee County's new manager, Roger Desjarlais is leaving some members of the African American community frustrated and disappointed.

Desjarlais' upcoming appearance on "Lee Pitts Live" focused partly on minority hiring practices.  
Minority construction companies have long complained about the lack of opportunities in winning lee county government  contracts.  
Even though there is a "changing of the guard" with a new county manager,  the NAACP fears his tenure will bring more of the same. 
Lee Pitts Live will show its entire interview with new county manager Roger Desjarlais this Sunday.  
But Desjarlais answers to questions about minority hiring practices have already reached people like members of the NAACP and they are none to pleased.
James Muwakkil, president of the NAACP said "we was hoping this county manager would be more daring... more fair."
Muwakkil says Desjarlais response to questions about improving minority hiring practices was at the very least... uninspired.
Roger Dejarlais said "I think you and I had this conversation 25 years ago. This is a topic of conversation were going to continue to have for a long time to come."
Pitts went on to ask the new county manager specifially about the lucrative construction contracts and how minorities never seem to win them.
Desjarlais answer was simple and straightforward.
Desjarlais said "if they want to do business with Lee County... contact our purchasing department ...  get on our vendors list so they can receive the bids by email just like everyone else does... and compete."
For the NAACP president, Desjarlais' answer demonstrated a failure to appreciate the uphill battle some minorities say they are facing.
Muwakkil says "from what we are understanding... we are not to expect much change from this county manager but again... we would love to be proven wrong here.)
Roger Desjarlais' office issued this statement that "Lee County has purchased tracking software that will help county officials monitor DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise)  utilization, in an effort to make sure that we are doing what is right."
You can watch the entire Roger Desjarlais interview on lee Pitts live Sunday morning at 8:30 -- right here on Fox 4.
Warren Wright