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Cincinnati plan to include more minorities in contracts

Cincinnati leaders are pledging to involve more minority contractors in real estate developments that receive some city subsidy.  

Mayor John Cranley and seven of nine council members are supporting a motion to create a law that would attach an inclusion memorandum of understanding to such projects.  Cranley said it follows examples from the private sector.

“We have models, what 3CDC’s done they’ve had some great numbers, the casino’s had great numbers,” Cranley said.  “Now we want to take that model and make it standard operating procedure for all of our (city) deals moving forward.  So what we’re introducing is legislation asking, within the confines of law, that we mirror the process that was used in the casino so successfully.”

Council's Education and Entrepreneurship Committee could discuss the motion Tuesday.  

Cranley is also pledging to increase minority participation in other city-issued contracts for goods and services.

“Try to move African-American contracts from 2.7 to 15 percent over two years, women-owned contracts from 6 to 12 percent, and Hispanic contracts from zero to 3,” Cranley said.  “We may not get there, but we’re going to break out backs trying to get there over the next couple of years.  We believe based on our conversations with the contracting community those are achievable numbers, although it will be difficult.”

Cincinnati is also conducting a Croson study to investigate whether a disparity exists in contracting and procurement for minority and female-owned companies.  Such a review is needed to determine whether the city could consider race and gender when awarding such contracts.  

The study results from a 1989 Supreme Court case which held Richmond, Virginia's minority set-aside program, which gave preference to minority businesses when awarding contracts, was unconstitutional.