Burgess calls for complete minority contracting report

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In the wake of a New Pittsburgh Courier story showing the 2011 annual report published by the Pittsburgh Equal Opportunity Review Commission showed neither the work done by Minority- and Women-owned firms nor the actual amounts paid to such firms by the city and its authorities, Pittsburgh Councilman Rev. Ricky Burgess has introduced legislation to demand such reporting.

Burgess
REV. RICKY BURGESS

As noted in the June 13 edition of the Courier, in many instances, the report contains projections of work to be done by M/WDBE rather than the actual work done.

The result was a report that, for example, listed architect Marvin Miller as having received a $1.86 million subcontract he never did. Likewise, architect Howard Graves was reported as getting a $2 million contract, which he told the Courier was nonexistent.

Commission Office Manager Phillipe Petite said the report only contains the MWDBE plans submitted to the commission for approval, not the final result.

“The authorities themselves are responsible for that…there is no comprehensive report of utilization by the city and its authorities,” he said.

Burgess, who also chairs the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh board, said that is precisely what a final annual report should show, and at the June 26 council meeting he submitted legislation requiring it.

The bill, he said, would strengthen the city’s minority procurement by requiring:

•Establishing a Department of Equal Opportunity and Review, and

•Assuring that the annual report documents payments received for actual work performed by minority- and women-owned businesses.

“The Equal Opportunity Review Commission has not been consistent with the intent of the previous legislation (sponsored by Burgess) approved by council to track and disseminate information on the city’s minority procurement,” he said. “I hope council supports and adopts such critical pieces of legislation.”

Burgess also noted that the city has failed to complete an updated disparity study that could allow for greater minority participation in city contracts.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

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