Cross posted by our friends at RIFuture.org:
Mayor Angel Taveras was joined today by leading members of civil rights and women’s rights organizations, as he signed an executive order establishing The Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Procurement Task Force.
The Mayor charged the Task Force with studying the city’s procurement practices and recommending improvements to assure minority and women-owned businesses have equal opportunity to city contracts. The Mayor created the Task Force in collaboration with the African-American Round Table, an organization that identified an ongoing lack of diversity in city contracts.
More after the jump . . .
“Equality and opportunity are the principles of our great nation and they will certainly be the cornerstones of my administration. We must make every effort to make sure that when the City does business, the playing field is level, and women and minority-owned businesses have equal opportunity to secure municipal contracts,” said Mayor Taveras “This task force will ensure that Providence’s process for selecting vendors is fair and equitable and that the city grows the pool of vendors who do business with the city.”
The Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise Procurement Task Force will consist of nine members, with the chairperson and five others to be named by the Mayor and three to be named by City Council President Michael A. Solomon.
The Task Force will take 90 days to assess the city’s existing MBE/WBE Ordinance and procurement policies and procedures and research best practices that have achieved quantifiable results across the nation.
As part of its work, the Task Force will conduct a public hearing, engage relevant community, business and labor stakeholders, and invite appropriate administrative staff to provide internal and external information to the review.
“As April 12 marks Equal Pay Day, a day that symbolizes the vast gender disparity in pay, the Women’s Fund congratulates Mayor Taveras for recognizing the importance of improving access and opportunity for Women-owned contracting firms in Providence,” said Marcia Coné, executive director of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island.
“As a long-time advocate for equal opportunity, I commend Mayor Taveras for taking a positive first step in insuring that all businesses, regardless of the owner’s race or ethnicity, have equal access and opportunity in securing City contracts. Hundreds of minority and women-owned businesses in Rhode Island are looking for the opportunity to grow and provide much needed services to the Capital City,” said Jim Vincent, president of the NAACP Providence Branch.
At the conclusion of this process, the Task Force will report its findings to the Mayor and recommend ways the City can increase minority and women-owned businesses participation in city contracts.
The Mayor was joined at today’s signing by numerous leaders of Providence’s women, Latino, and African American communities, including NAACP President Jim Vincent, Marcia Coné from the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, Providence City Council members Wilbur Jennings, Luis Aponte and Sabina Matos, State Representative Grace Diaz, former State Representative Ray Rickman, former State Representative Joseph Almeida, African-American Roundtable Chairman Michael Van Leesten, Bank of America Senior Vice President Yahaira Placencia, Latino Contractors Association President Luis Torrado, the Latino Policy Institute’s Paola Fernandez, Rhode Island Latino Civic Fund President Doris De Los Santos, Providence Economic Development Partnership board member Alberto Guzman, NAACP-Providence former President Cliff Monteiro, and African-American Roundtable members Cheryl Burrell, Denise Barge, Rossie Lee Harris and Nick Figueroa.