Making A Good Faith Effort-Small Underutilized Business Program

Like many government agencies, the City of Minneapolis has small business subcontracting goals. The requirement is that prime contractors and developers must either meet the goals, or make a good-faith effort (GFE) to meet the goals. The aim of the program is for primes to form relationships with woman- and minority-owned small firms, and primes should usually be able to leverage those relationships to meet the goals. However, if the goals are not met on a given project, City staff will evaluate whether the prime contractor made a good faith effort to meet the goals. But, what does it mean to make a good faith effort?

When City contract compliance staff evaluate whether a contractor made a good faith effort, they will ask for evidence that the contractor took certain actions. Those actions might be organized into three basic categories: initial outreach, follow-up/negotiation, and breaking out subcontracting opportunities.

Regarding the contractor’s initial outreach, primes should note that the City only counts MnUCP-certified, local, minority- and women- owned firms (MBEs and WBEs) toward its goals. Evidence of a firm’s Minnesota MBE or WBE certification is found at Community and professional organizations may also be helpful in finding MBEs and WBEs, but must be the primary resource.

Primes should solicit through all reasonable and available means the interest of all MBEs and WBEs certified in the scopes of work of the project. City staff will ask for evidence like copies of bid invitations sent, fax confirmation sheets, email correspondence, and phone logs of MBEs/WBEs called. Also, primes should do this outreach early enough that MBEs/WBEs have plenty of time to respond. This may sometimes mean starting outreach before the City holds its pre-bid meeting. Note that while there are many types of actions a contractor should be able to document in order to show a good faith effort, documentation of thorough initial outreach is usually weighed the most heavily by City staff.

Regarding the prime’s follow-up and negotiation, primes should follow up with potential subcontractors intelligently, negotiate fairly, and freely share appropriate project information. If, for example, a prime has emailed fifty MBEs/WBEs during initial outreach, and some of those firms responded that they were not interested, the prime need not contact those firms again about that project. Follow-up communications should be reserved for firms that did not initially respond, that responded favorably, or that responded ambiguously. And of course, MBEs/WBEs should be given the project details that they need to respond effectively to the solicitation.

Regarding breaking out subcontracting opportunities, a prime should select portions of the work to be performed by MBEs/WBEs in order to increase the likelihood that the project goals will be achieved. Depending on the nature and size of the project, this may require some creativity, including breaking certain scopes of work into smaller units. Even if a prime would prefer to self-perform certain scopes of work, breaking out those scopes to increase MBE or WBE inclusion remains a weighty consideration in any good faith effort evaluation.

Depending on the project, making and documenting a good faith effort can be time-consuming, to put it mildly. Again, the hope is that prime contractors are forming relationships within the community of small minority- and woman-owned firms. This would increase the chances that a prime can make two phone calls, and meet the goals, instead of having to make 50 phone calls, and not meet the goals.

The above is only a brief summary. For more detailed information about meeting the goals or making good faith efforts, refer to the City’s bid documents for any formally bid project, or call the Contract Compliance Division of the Civil Rights Department at 612-673-3012.

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Governor Dayton appointments Karen Francois as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Career and Business Opportunity


Karren 2 The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights will soon bid farewell to our dear colleague and friend Karen Francois. On April 20, 2015 Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announced the appointment of Karen Francois as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Career and Business Opportunity.

In affirming the Governor’s decision DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben released the following statement –  “Karen has a wealth of experience in addressing employment disparities and has a reputation for creating innovation solutions to complex problems.  Her highly collaborative approach will be a strong addition to our management team, and will be highly effective in bringing key stakeholders together to work on addressing the state’s most pressing issue.”

As Karen Francois transitions into her new role, she leaves behind a living legacy at the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights.


 Article Retrieved from Department of Employment and Economic Development Press Release

April 20, 2016

– The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has named Karen Francois to serve as assistant commissioner of the Office of Career and Business Opportunity.

The new DEED office was created by Gov. Mark Dayton to help workers and businesses of color find career paths and business opportunities in Minnesota. The office will identify and help break down barriers that have contributed to economic disparities for communities of color throughout the state.

Francois, who has served in key leadership positions with the city of Minneapolis for the past four years, will report directly to the DEED commissioner and will be a member of the commissioner’s senior leadership team. Her start date is May 4.

“Karen has a wealth of experience in addressing employment disparities and has a reputation for creating innovation solutions to complex problems,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Her highly collaborative approach will be a strong addition to our management team, and will be highly effective in bringing key stakeholders together to work on addressing the state’s most pressing issue.”

“I’m grateful to Gov. Dayton for his vision of racial equity in Minnesota and excited about the opportunity to help make that vision a reality statewide,” Francois said. “We are at a critical time where we need to get this done if Minnesota is to retain its economic vitality and prosperity.”

The Office of Career and Business Opportunity will focus on four main areas:

Better career opportunities – Helping workers in communities of color access the training and resources they need to find good jobs that lead to successful careers.

Better business opportunities – Helping minority-owned businesses succeed in Minnesota’s marketplace by providing access to resources and opportunities to start and expand their businesses.

Better business practices Helping Minnesota’s business community develop and adopt hiring and contracting practices that expand opportunity for minority workers and businesses.

Better state government –
Helping the Governor’s Diversity and Inclusion Council identify and break down barriers to opportunities for workers and businesses of color within state government.

Francois has extensive public sector experience, working in the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights as the director of employment equity since January 2012 and the director of contract compliance since July 2013.

Under her leadership, inclusion of minority and women workers on city construction projects has steadily increased, and more than $60 million has been paid out to minority- and women-owned businesses over the last three years.

Francois also was the associate director of Women & Philanthropy at UCLA from 2005 to 2008 and was director of program development for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights from 2003 to 2005.

She has bachelor’s degree in communications from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., and a mini-MBA certificate in nonprofit management from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.

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PCOC Meeting in a Snapshot: April Edition

Commissioners at the April PCOC meeting.

The PCOC held its monthly meeting on April 12, 2016. Highlights of the meeting included an update on the mental health research and study, outreach efforts to be a part of the Minneapolis Cinco de Mayo celebration, appointments to the newly formed Audit Committee, Quarterly reports from the OPCR and Internal Affairs, a discussion of body camera police listening sessions conducted by the MPD and NCR and the PCOC’s postion on the current state of the MPD body camera policy, individual check-ins with the Chair and case selection.

The meeting began with a update on the mental health study from OPCR Policy Analyst Kaela McConnon Diarra who informed the Commission that a new draft of the preliminary report, referred to the Policy and Procedure Committee last month who offered suggested edits and additions, with those revisions and additions was available for Commission review. Some of the revisions and additions made included more detail in the Best Practice section of the report on co-responder programs, more emphasis on the need for a specialized CIT officer team even with all MPD officers being trained in CIT, and additional detail as to who would be a part of a recommended working group to review possible frameworks that could be implemented by the MPD to improve officer interactions with those experiencing mental health crises. The report was again referred to the Policy and Procedure Committee for further review, especially in regards to organizing the working group. Read the updated draft report here and recommended policy here.

Next, a community leader and main organizer of Minneapolis’ Cinco de Mayo celebration addressed the Commission and expressed his desire for the PCOC’s presence at the event and detailed the work he and Commissioner Cerrillo had already been doing to get MPD involved in the event as well. He reported that 3rd Precinct Inspector Sullivan plans to attend, and that a police car will lead the parade, all with the goal of promoting communication between the MPD and the Latino community and for the MPD to understand the needs of that community. The Commission passed a motion to attend the event from 10am-7pm on May 8th at a booth provided by event organizers free of charge.

Following that, appointments were made to the Commission’s new Audit Committee. The chair of that Committee is to be Commissioner Buss and the other members will be Commission Chair Brown, and Commissioner Singleton.

IA Commander Jason Case presents to the Commission.

IA Commander Jason Case presents to the Commission.

OPCR Director Imani Jaafar presented the OPCR’s quarterly report to the Commission, followed by the Internal Affairs Commander Jason Case presenting the quarterly report for the Internal Affairs Department. Both were informative and well received and this is the first time IA has presented its report to the Commission.  The OPCR report can be found here, and and IA report found here.

After this, the commission engaged in a lengthy discussion of the current situation in regard to body camera policy and the MPD. Commissioners attended multiple listening sessions put on by the MPD and NCR and noted the community’s dissatisfaction with the MPD’s current policy and their support for the PCOC recommended policy published last September. In response to Commissioner’s experiences at these meetings, a motion was passed for the Policy and Procedure Committee to plan a PCOC sponsored forum to inform community members about what the PCOC recommended policy says, how that differs from the current MPD draft and generally raise awareness regarding how important an effective body camera policy is. Another motion was passed for the Policy and Procedure Committee to draft a public statement from the PCOC regarding the current MPD policy draft and action on this issue.

Next were committee reports.  Read the Outreach Committee Report here. Read the Policy and Procedure Committee Report here.

The Chair then checked in with all individual Commissioners on what they have been working on and Commissioners shared many great things including: work with the Minneapolis Bike Association on bicycle citations, meetings with MPD precinct inspectors, outreach to Catholic churches in Minneapolis, work on Islamophobia and more.

The Commissioners then moved to postpone case discussion until the next monthly meeting but did chose cases to consider for next month as well. Those cases were 5,7 and 10. The meeting then adjourned.

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OPCR Annual Report Presented to the Minneapolis City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Emergency Management Committee

On March 23, 2016 the Office of Police Conduct Review annual report was presented to the Minneapolis City Council’s Public Safety, Civil Rights and Emergency Management Committee. Presenters included OPCR Director Imani Jaafar, Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Patrick, Internal Affairs Commander Jason Case and Police Conduct Oversight Commissioner Jennifer Singleton.  Highlights of the report included a discussion of officer discipline, collaboration with Internal Affairs and work with the Police Conduct Oversight Commission. View the presentation below.

View a copy of the report here.

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PCOC Meeting in a Snapshot: March Edition

Council member Gordon presenting to the PCOC on the Criminal Justice Task Force

Council member Gordon presenting to the PCOC on the Criminal Justice Task Force

The Police Conduct Oversight Commission held its monthly meeting on March 8, 2016. Meeting highlights included a presentation from City Council member Cam Gordon on his Criminal Justice Task Force Initiative, a discussion of the current draft of the MPD’s body worn camera policy, a presentation on the Preliminary Mental Health and Policing Study, a discussion of the Audit Committee design and committee reports.

Councilman Gordon opened the meeting with his presentation on the Criminal Justice Task Force.  This is a Task Force that is in the preliminary stage but which he hopes to establish via a City Council Resolution.  The Task Force would aim to develop recommendations for how the Minneapolis City Council, Mayor and City departments can eliminate racial disparities within the areas of the criminal justice system that the city of Minneapolis controls or influences. Some of those recommendations could include: amending city ordinances, reforming practices and policies of the Police Department and City Attorney’s office that disproportionately impact people of color, and minimizing collateral consequences for those charged with or convicted of a crime. Councilman Gordon asked the PCOC specifically for their suggestions and feedback in creating the proposal and task force and then later for their potential endorsement of it. Find a preliminary description of the project here.

Next, Deputy Chief Arradondo presented the current draft of the MPD body camera policy. He highlighted points of clash and agreement between that policy and the recommended policy the PCOC released in its Body Camera Research and Study in September. Following his presentation, the Commissions engaged in a robust discussions over many of those clashes, focusing especially on officer viewing of footage before writing reports, issues of consent and notification of community members being filmed, discretion in deactivation of body cameras and community input in regards to the policy. Deputy Chief Arradondo expressed that this is only a draft policy and that additional community engagement will be taking place and that the Commission is invited and encouraged to be involved in that engagement. Find the current draft policy here.

Following the body camera discussion, OPCR Law Enforcement Analyst Ryan Patrick and Policy Analyst Kaela McConnon Diarra presented to the Commission the Mental Health and Policing Preliminary Study results.  Find the draft of the preliminary report here. Presenters went over research collected, other departments consulted and a variety of potential recommendations the PCOC could make.  Some of those include supporting current efforts by the MPD to train all patrol officers in crisis response, supporting a 24-hour mental health drop in site already in the works, implementing a Mental Health Response Policy and creating a working group of community stakeholders to look at other potential programs and recommendations such as the co-responder program that pairs officers with a mental health professional.  The Commission passed a motion to direct the report to the Policy and Procedure Committee for further review and revisit the report at the next monthly meeting.

Next, Commissioner Singleton discussed the proposed Audit Committee design, establishing its difference from the Policy and Procedure Committee by focusing on building Research and Studies and running data and numbers and the Policy and Procedure Committee focusing on substantive recommendations based on those studies and numbers to the MPD. Commissioner Singleton them moved to create the Audit Committee and the motion pasted. View the motion here.

Committee reports were then made for the Policy and Procedure Committee, find the Committee report here. Within that report, Commissioner Singleton moved to have that Committee take on a project to make recommendations concerning the methodology and procedure for conducting a thorough review of the Minneapolis Police Department Policy and Procedure Manual and accompanying Discipline Matrix, resulting in recommendations for changes to both the Manual and Discipline Matrix. The motion passed. Find it here. The Outreach Committee report was also made and can be found here.

Commissioners then reviewed case summaries from last month’s meetings and chose cases to review for the April meeting.  Summaries can be found here: 1, 8, 9.  Synopses for case selection can be found here. Commissioners selected cases 3, 5 and 6.

Following case review the meeting adjourned with the next monthly Commission meeting scheduled for April 12, 2016.

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The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights Celebrates International Women’s Day



International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. First observed in the early 1900’s, the day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights is proud to celebrate International Women’s Day, and recognize some of our partner organizations who share our ideals of advancing women’s rights and removing barriers to equity.


  • Women Venture
    • Women Venture helps women attain economic self-sufficiency through the creation and growth of profitable and sustainable businesses.
  • Minnesota Women’s Consortium  
    • Minnesota Women’s Consortium is a statewide collaboration of 125 organizations and 3,600 individuals, the Women’s Consortium works to achieve equity and justice for women and their families.
  • Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
    • The mission of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota is to invest in social change to achieve equality for all women and girls in Minnesota.
  • Association of Women Contractors
    • The Association of Women Contractors (AWC) provides unique support to women business owners in the construction industry. The organization was founded in 1995 by a group of pioneering women who were determined to help other women succeed in a male-dominated industry.
  • Breaking Free
    • Breaking Free is a Minnesota-based non-profit and social justice/social change organization founded in 1996 by Vednita Carter. Every year, Breaking Free helps over 500 women escape systems of prostitution and sexual exploitation through advocacy, direct services, housing, and education.
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Step Up and Urban Scholars Create Career Pathways

On Thursday, January 28th the Urban Scholars Program staff met with representatives from the Step-Up Administration Team as well as the newly created Career Pathways Coordinator for the City of Minneapolis. This group discussed best practices in intern recruitment and placement as well as how all at the table could leverage their existing relationships to create more opportunities for young people.

Launched in 2004, STEP-UP helps bridge the critical gap between talented young people and the needs of the region’s work force. Since its inception, the program has connected over 20,000 young people with internships at top Twin Cities companies, nonprofits and public agencies, providing critical work-readiness training, on-the-job experience, professional connections and ongoing support for career and college success. In 2016, STEP-UP placed 1,563 Minneapolis youth in internships. Over 91 percent of the youth were students of color, 90 percent received free or reduced-price lunch, and 41 percent were from immigrant families.

Created in 2012, Urban Scholars is a leadership and professional development internship program providing college students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with distinctive professional experience. Focused on essential leadership skills and creating resume-building career pathways, Urban Scholars trains the next generation of leaders. More than 83% of Urban Scholars have been students of color.  

Both Step Up and Urban Scholars are among the premiere career readiness programs in the country. It is the City of Minneapolis’ hope that with pipeline programs like Step Up and Urban Scholars, as well as being more intentional about advertising all internship opportunities available, the City can build a workforce that is reflective of the people they serve.

us blog.jpg2015 Urban Scholars Cohort and many 2015 Step Up students at the annual Urban Scholars/Step Up Luncheon.

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