By Mark Belko
The Sports & Exhibition Authority delayed the award of nearly $3.4 million in contracts to replace part of a leaky fourth-floor terrace at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center after a member complained about the “paltry” level of participation by minority- and women-owned businesses in the project.
Members of the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County authority board decided Thursday to hold back on a vote for one week while officials try to work with Mascaro Construction Co. to increase the levels of minority and female involvement.
Also Thursday, the board authorized up to $1.7 million in reimbursements to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the purchase and installation of new LED lighting at Heinz Field.
Mascaro, the lead contractor, and the construction manager for the terrace project at the convention center is pledging to provide 10 percent female participation and 9 percent minority involvement in the work, which is scheduled to start this month.
That’s far below the SEA goal of 25 percent MBE participation and right at the goal of 10 percent for WBE involvement.
The board decided to hold off on a vote after member Sala Udin, a former city councilman, said he was concerned that a company as large as Mascaro which traditionally has been more inclusive “was only able to come up with a paltry participation of 10 percent and 9 percent.”
“This is such a large contract I don’t understand why the MBE and WBE participation is so low …