By Johnnie Burns, Assistant Director – Contract Compliance
Since January 1, 2012 the City of Minneapolis has utilized firms certified by the Minnesota Unified Certification Program (MnUCP) to meet SUBP goals on its projects. The City of Minneapolis is no longer utilizing the CERT program businesses to meet SUBP goals on city projects. Again: the City of Minneapolis is no longer utilizing businesses solely certified in the CERT program to fulfill SUBP goals on city projects.
Now that I got that out of the way…
The Contract Compliance Unit (CCU) sent letters to all the CERT certified firms, had town hall meetings with small businesses about the change to the MnUCP and with general contractors about good faith efforts; and there still seems to be major problems with general contractors failing to follow the directions provided in the special provisions included with City bid packets. I don’t know if contractors have decided not to read the nine-page special provisions that are in the bid documents or if they don’t really care, but the CCU has rejected at least 10 bids since the start of the year due to an inability on the part of general contractors to meet the goals or demonstrate the good faith efforts specified in the bid packets.
The new special provisions information really details everything a contractor needs to know to meet the goal or make a good faith effort towards meeting the goal. The goals are reasonable and are set based on availability of MBE/WBE firms within the metropolitan statistical area to do the type of work specified within the contract. If contractors are truly making efforts to afford MBE/WBE firms the opportunity to bid then the documentation of the good faith efforts are easy because the documentation required is detailed in the provisions. The good faith efforts were established to ensure that opportunities were afforded to both women and minorities to either contract with or become employed on City of Minneapolis projects.
So please: if you are a general contractor bidding on City of Minneapolis projects, read the special provisions. If you are an MBE or WBE subcontractor seeking to be utilized to meet goals on contracts, don’t wait for a contractor to reach out to you; take the initiative and reach out to them and ask if you can provide a bid.
Certified MBE and WBE firms can be found at www.mnucp.org.