Report: Greensboro Could Improve Contract Process For Women And Minorities

Apr 5, 2018

Greensboro city skyline.
Credit Mark Goebel / Flickr, Creative Commons,

The city of Greensboro could do more to ensure businesses owned by women and minorities get contracts with the city, according to a report presented to the city council this week.

The study evaluated the success of the city's program aimed at increasing contracts awarded to minority and women-owned business enterprises, or MWBEs.

It found the program helped increase the percentage of contracts awarded to minority-owned prime contractors, but the same was not true for subcontractors.

“I think that's really kind of the big picture, that there was more spending with MWBEs than before, but maybe the subcontracting level, even though that went up, in dollar terms, did not go up in percentage terms,” said J Vincent Eagan, one of the consultants.

The program also found most of the contracts awarded in the program went to white women.

Eagan said the study controlled for a lot of factors including the size of a company and how long it had been in business.

“We still found that MWBEs were getting less revenue than you would expect for firms that had been in business that long with that number of revenues,” Eagan said.

The report said it was important for staff to be in on negotiations for the city's big construction projects and to support subcontractors. It recommended creating a system to investigate possible cases of discrimination. The study also found that minority and women-owned businesses are more likely to be denied bank loans. And they represent only 1 percent of building permits approved by the city.

Consultant Rodney Strong recommended adding more staff to administer the program.

“To say I've got one person and they're responsible for doing outreach, doing contract administration, doing monitoring, and that's one person, it's just impossible,” Strong said.