Cincinnati council has for now rejected an attempt to delay the implementation of the city's responsible bidder ordinance.
There were not enough votes to call for a "pause" Wednesday and the issue is likely to be debated again next week.
City administrators are concerned the ordinance will destroy efforts to increase the number of city contracts awarded to minority and women-owned businesses.
They also say they can't award water and storm water construction contracts for fear of legal challenges.
A council majority has proposed changes to address those concerns. But there were not enough council members voting yes to allow for it to be immediately considered Wednesday.
Council member P.G. Sittenfeld said responsible bidder is the law.
"Based on what people have said today, it's going to stay the law," Sittenfeld said. "I therefore admit to being a little bit perplexed as why people would reject attempts to make that law more compatible to an overall win-win."
Supporters have also said the city had plenty of time to create rules to administer responsible bidder while it was on hold because of legal challenges. A federal appeals court recently ruled the city could implement the ordinance.
Vice Mayor David Mann was the swing vote when a revised responsible bidder ordinance was approved.
"Many people asked me to change my position, I did not and I will not," Mann said. "That doesn't mean that the interaction between responsible bidder on the one hand and minority inclusion is what it should be. It can be perfected and it should be perfected before we allow it to go into effect. This is very disappointing."
Responsible bidder requires companies getting city contracts over a certain dollar amount to have an apprenticeship program for job training.