Friday, August 31, 2012

Minority Business Development in the City

A recent audit report (August 30) done by the City's Auditor suggests that operationally, the Office of Minority Business Development (OMBD) needs to make some improvements. The City plans to continue to improve upon having an inclusive agenda and appreciates the Auditor and the City Council supporting the City's efforts to include minority businesses in the economic opportunities that the City generates.

Even though areas where the office needs to be improved were highlighted, the audit report indicated that "OMBD has made a positive changed in minority participation" and "there has been a steady increase in spending with minority subcontractors since FY 2008." The report also states that the "number of minority subcontracts receiving payments has increased" and shows that the City has increased the universe of those firms doing business with the City of Richmond.

In just a few short years, City spending with minority business has increased by 60% - with spending increasing to $22.3 million in Fiscal Year 2011. For Fiscal Year 2012, OMBD is tracking at approximately $37.6 million. The City Administration has fought for unprecedented goals attached to City construction projects. The City has pursued goals of 40% participation for the schools construction projects and even more (50.25%) for the jail project. The City will see unprecedented levels of minority participation on over $250 million in City construction projects.

Mayor Jones and his administration wants to ensure that all businesses have a chance to participate where there is economic opportunity. This is part of the bedrock of the City's platform to chip away at the high levels of poverty our city has experienced for decades. The recent OMBD report is indeed constructive criticism that will allow the City to improve upon the already successful efforts.