Even with $135 million in bonds and changing the compensation system for city employees on the agenda for the Tuesday, July 20 City Council meeting, the item that was discussed the most by the Greensboro City Council was the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise percentages for one $625,000 paving contract.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower vigorously objected to the sidewalk paving contract with Atlantic Contracting Company, where the MWBE goals had been combined. Usually for contracts there are separate Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) goals.
For this contract there was only a MWBE goal and Hightower objected.
Assistant City Manager Kim Sowell explained that the subcontracting opportunities in the bid were insufficient to have separate goals for MBE and WBE.
Sowell said that because of the lack of opportunity to divide the subcontracting work into smaller pieces the MWBE Goal Setting Committee had decided to have a combined MWBE goal of 37 percent and that Atlantic Contracting Company had met that goal with 37.1 percent.
Hightower said, “I don’t accept that excuse.”
The problem that Hightower had with the contract was not actually combining the MWBE goals, but that a WBE, Crossroads Infrastructure Inc. was going to be doing the work.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter said, “I think sometimes we should listen to those that have expertise and consider the fact that the goal setting committee approved this and was in support of this.”
Councilmember Justin Outling opposed awarding the contract because limited subcontracting ability was not specifically defined.
Councilmember Goldie Wells noted that when this contract was pulled off the June agenda that no specific reason was given, so the staff didn’t know what questions were being asked about the contract. She also said that if they put the contract out to rebid it, the MWBE percentage could come back lower.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that the MWBE percentage was 37 percent, which was higher than many contracts.
Councilmember Yvonne Johnson made a motion to table the contract for a month and then withdrew her motion when Vaughan agreed to hold a work session on the MWBE program.
After the lengthy discussion, awarding the contract to Atlantic Contracting Company with 37 percent MWBE participation passed on a 7-2 vote with Hightower and Outling voting no.
Atlantic Contracting is a WBE. what’s the problem?
We’re surrounded by idiots.
These contracts should go to the lowest responsible bidder with adequate references and trade experience. Nothing else should matter.
With our blatantly racist city council, that’s not going to happen.
Why not start a program to give contracts to small White male companies to even the playing field
I’m my experience, all white males are small.
Then it will be easier on you
That’s not me, Will. It’s some idiot impersonating me.
Not all, I am large.
Remember, Hightower could not care less about the cost as long as a minority firm gets a big portion of the contract.
She will never be satisfied. When the committee who has experience makes a decision that is sound, as this obviously was, there should be no discussion. This council does nothing but try to micromanage everything in the city, wastes too much time on these issues, and does nothing to represent the taxpaying citizen. There is a solution. It is at the ballot box.
In the future,if councilwoman Hightower doesn’t like the percentages, let’s just simply not do the project;being sure,though,to make sure Sharon gets public credit for her efforts.
The City Council and their MWBE program make it almost impossible and very costly to do business with the City of Greensboro.
True. Council and M/WBE program only care if you are a black male-owned business.