Disparity Study Brings Big Changes

By Johnnie Burns, Assistant Director – Contract Compliance

As some of you may be aware, the Contract Compliance Unit (CCU) is implementing some exciting changes as a result of the 2010 Disparity Study [PDF]. The study concluded that there continues to be significant gaps in the City of Minneapolis between contracting opportunities for minority and female business owners compared to their white male counterparts. The changes were attributed to discrimination, since the study took into consideration other factors like credit history and wealth. The study encouraged us to improve on some of our existing efforts and also to make some important changes to how we do business.

The most significant change that came out of the disparity study was the revision of our SUBP ordinance (SUBP is the Small Underutilized Business Program). We essentially revised the entire ordinance to incorporate the specific changes recommended in the Disparity Study. We’re improving how we review good faith efforts and how we count participation toward contracting goals. For example, if MBE/WBE companies that sub out a portion of their labor to non-MBE/WBE companies, that portion will no longer be counted toward the goal. We’ve also changed the certification requirements, as CERT-certification will no longer be accepted. We’re also applying contracting goals to our own departments that contract directly with businesses for goods and services (as opposed to only setting goals on construction and development projects). We know there are a lot of changes in a short period of time. We are working with contractors and the community to implement these changes, and we will include more specifics in future blog entries as well.

Ultimately the goal behind these changes is to help Minneapolis businesses and residents grow economically while reducing barriers based on race and gender. We believe these improvements will help to ensure that Minneapolis becomes a place where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

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