City Plans to Allocate Funds to Support Minority And Women-Owned Businesses
Photo courtesy of MDgovpics via flickr
An $11 million settlement between the City and Allied Waste Transportation, Inc. will be used exclusively for the development and improved administration of the City’s Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses (M/WBE) programs and the encouragement of M/WBE participation, announced Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday, Feb. 27.
“The settlement funds from Allied Waste will enable us to accelerate the changes already underway in the M/WBE Program, as well as dedicate additional resources to other aspects of reform,” said Jamie Rhee, Commissioner of the Department of Procurement Services (DPS).
The City of Chicago’s Department of Law announced on January 19, 2012, that the City had settled a dispute with Allied Waste over the participation of M/WBEs in contracts between Allied Waste and the City.
With respect to the M/WBE Program, DPS has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen oversight and compliance by both vendors and City personnel. The City has established online contract control tools, and now prime contractors are required to report all M/WBE subcontractor utilization and payments online. All M/WBE subcontractors are required to verify that their reported payment amounts and percentages of work performed are accurate. The online tracking tool also allows City personnel to monitor real-time M/WBE utilization for comparison with the utilization percentages proposed in the prime contractor’s original contract compliance plan.
These initiatives follow a number of announcements by Mayor Emanuel designed to expand opportunities for small, women and minority owned businesses, many formulated in conjunction with the Mayor’s Supplier Diversity Taskforce, chaired by John Rogers, CEO of Ariel Investment. These announcements include The Small Business Initiative; the Phased Graduation Program; Local Manufacturing Preference; Expansion of Local Business Preference; The Diversity Credit Program; and the UIC Forum Vendor Fair co-hosted with Cook County on March 2.
“As more public works projects continue to be planned and go out to bid, it is critical to ensure that compliance is an elevated priority, especially when it comes to ensuring minority participation with qualified and capable companies,” said Jorge Perez, Executive Director of the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA).