Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s administration is stepping up its efforts to open up more opportunities for City Hall business to women- and minority-owned contractors to help address historically low diversity among the city’s mix of suppliers.
Walsh announced an executive order on Friday that included a number of key steps: training for employees and departments that handle procurements, requiring employees to verify they’ve used a city-managed procurement database when soliciting bids, and mandating that diverse contracting be considered at the start of the budget process every year.
…the mayor has come under fire for the city’s historically low rate of contracting with minority businesses. The latest figures from City Hall show 5.3 percent of the city’s $669 million in discretionary contracts went to minority- and women-owned businesses in the fiscal year that ended on June 30. That’s up from 4.5 percent in the previous year.
And the administration plans to improve access to its databases to make it easier for minority- and women-owned businesses to find opportunities, and for city employees to more quickly identify potential bidders.
“Every time a department goes to purchase something, we are going to ask them what vendors they’ve solicited [to] ensure they are identifying businesses from the directory,” said Emme Handy, Walsh’s chief financial officer.
Walsh also has established a supplier diversity council that will meet for the first time next Friday. The mayor plans to sign the executive order at that meeting.
These mark the latest steps that Walsh has taken to diversify the city’s contracting base, as a way of sharing the wealth of city business in a more equitable manner.
Earlier numbers showed a nearly 2 percent participation rate for 2018, but the Walsh administration …