As has become commonplace for Greensboro City Council work sessions, the agenda had little to do with the actual meeting.
The agenda for the Tuesday, March 2 virtual meeting, which was finally posted with attachments on after 3 p.m. Monday, March 1, only had two items.
Item 1 was “Way Finding Update” and Item 2 was “Minority/Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program Review/Griffin and Strong.”
At the beginning of the meeting, it was decided to reverse those and do the MWBE report first and then after the MWBE discussion was concluded, Mayor Nancy Vaughan asked if they could have the discussion on Way Finding at a later meeting and the City Council went into a closed session to discuss granting an economic incentive.
So, the City Council never got to the first item on the agenda.
Assistant City Manager Kim Sowell went over the PowerPoint presentation on the MWBE numbers, comparing the figures for the disparity study, which is an average of the years 2012 through 2016 with 2019 and 2020. For example, in construction the average MWBE utilization in the disparity study was 11.4 percent, for 2019 it was 27.4 percent and for 2020 15.56 percent.
Sowell explained, as if an explanation was necessary, that 2020 was a very difficult year and overall construction was down. She also said that MWBE construction numbers were affected because a large percentage of construction was in one water resources department project, replacing water meters, and because of the nature of the contract that had low MWBE utilization.
Michelle Clark Jenkins, the senior director at Griffin & Strong, said, “I am encouraged by the upward trajectory.”
Griffin & Strong is the consulting group that did the disparity study and assisted in writing the current MWBE program. Jenkins said that Griffin & Strong is now operating in a consulting roll on the MWBE program and met twice a week with MWBE office to go over issues.
She said that most of the meetings were “topic driven – how should we handle this situation.”
Jenkins said, “I do think there are more tools that the city can be using. Using all the tools in your tool belt helps to equalize the numbers.”
Jenkins also said that some up and down in the percentages is to be expected, but that the city should try to keep the numbers on an upward trend. She said that if 2021 started to look more like 2019 that would be great, and if it looked like a repeat of 2020 then they would have to delve into why.
Only seven members of the City Council were present for the virtual work session, both Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson and Michelle Kennedy were absent.
Making decisions based on someone’s race is racism.
Making decisions based on someons’s sex/gender is sexism.
The MWBE program is racist and sexist.
Change my mind…
MWBE means No White Men Need Apply. How racist & sexist can they get?
It is without a doubt one of the dumbest things government constantly shoves down the staff’s throats. It is blatantly racist to give anyone an advantage or exclude anyone based on race. I do believe that staff should have the option to give preference to qualified local businesses, but race, age, religion, queerness, or whatever the trigger of the day is shouldn’t even be part of the conversation. Simply the facts: Are you qualified? How so? Provide references. Choose ONLY based on actual qualifications. End of story.
Selecting contractors or anyone to fill a job or position based on a quota number or percentage due to their race or sex is plainly discrimination. We have laws that are supposed to protect this problem. However, the liberal powers that be have come up with methods to ignore this fact in order to have diversity and equality. Here is the only way we can have equality-forget race and sex and hire or contract with the most qualified. Set asides for minority or women owned businesses only increase costs to the tax payer and seldom if ever get the best product for the least cost.
I just have to ask it. Can one be considered a minority contractor by merely identifying as a minority? They feel strongly about not denying someone a job because they are “gender fluid”….or what if they are “race fluid”? These are the things that just make you go Hmmmm.
Priceless! With the liberal logic of today, why the hell not? If you identify as a black, non-binary entity with a transgendered female business partner you should be a guaranteed favorite!
The only good that will come from this is fewer trees will be cut down and less building will happen around Greensboro making me a happier person. Just say “No to growth.”
There is a very simple solution to the issue. Contractors hate the program so just do not bid anything for a year or two. Then what?
What’s should be an even bigger disappointment to the citizens of Greensboro is the amount of time the City Council spends on this singular topic. Does polling data even list MWBE as a top 10 issue? It may be the only thing that Councilwoman Hightower can talk about as she loves to hear herself talk and dominate meetings…
We need to get the word out that our council is all about racial disparity and not about what the citizens of Guilford county need.