Saturday, March 29, 2008

Ordinance Aims To Help Minority Businesses

Mayor Admits Current Situation Is Problem Reported By Marc Stewart POSTED: 10:35 am CDT March 28, 2008 UPDATED: 10:53 am CDT March 28, 2008 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Two studies reveal that Nashville's own government has been overlooking minorities when it comes to bidding on city contracts. No one is denying the problem, including Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. The surveys showed it's been happening for years and millions of dollars are at stake. When Metro Government wants to do a project like a sidewalk, it's supposed to get bids from a variety of contractors. However, the government admits that wasn't always happening, and in many cases women and blacks were left out of the process. "Everyone that lives in Metro Government is a representation of our tax dollars. You want to show that representation through the business we provide, and the opportunities we provide, to anybody that wants to do business with Metro Government," said Metro Councilwoman Vivian Wilhoite. The Metro Council is expected to pass what's known as the nondiscrimination ordinance, which will set up a new Metro office and reach out to minority businesses to help them participate in the bidding process. Council members said the entire city would benefit. "I hope everybody will be on board in terms of fair practices and looking at the bigger picture of what we can for the economy as a whole. It will improve the economy. There's no way it can hurt. If businesses are allowed in different parts of the neighborhood, those areas that are suppressed, they can employ more people, so it actually spreads and helps crime and things of that nature," said Metro Councilwoman Erica Gilmore. This ordinance also provides a tracking system, so if there are problems, it's immediately addressed. The measure has passed its first two readings and is expected to be voted into law in the weeks ahead. Copyright 2008 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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