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GCP comments support County efforts to boost inclusion on construction projects

The Greater Cleveland Partnership, through the Commission on Economic Inclusion, recently provided public comment on Cuyahoga County’s proposed legislation to increase opportunities for small and minority-owned firms to do more work with the County.

The legislation was introduced by County Executive Armond Budish on February 9 and is a response to the most recent economic disparity study conducted by the County. The study found that there was significant underutilization of minority and female-owned firms for County construction projects.

Four pieces of legislation were introduced to create: (1) exclusive contracting opportunities or “set asides” for small businesses; (2) aspirational goals for minority and female-owned business participation on County contracts; (3) criteria to waive performance bond requirements on projects of a certain size, and; (4) a business economic inclusion program as an incentive for contractors to engage more minority and female-owned firms on projects.

The County Administration also introduced a resolution, passed by County Council last week, that would make the County an endorser of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for Community Benefit Agreements on major construction projects. The GCP played a key role with the City of Cleveland and other core partners on the development of the MOU in 2013. Cuyahoga County is one of the newest partners to endorse this initiative.

“Even with our best efforts, there is still much work to be done to ensure that Cuyahoga County and our region can be a competitive, inclusive place with shared prosperity for all,” says GCP President and CEO Joe Roman.

“We are grateful for the County’s endorsement of the MOU and look forward to working with them on the passage and implementation of the full package of legislation that we believe creates more opportunities for economic inclusion with our small, minority and female-owned firms.”

GCP’s advocacy team, in partnership with the Commission on Economic Inclusion, will continue advocacy efforts on the legislation as it is heard in the Public Works, Procurement and Contracting Committee of County Council.

Public comment from the Commission can be read here. More information on the legislation as well as a copy of the disparity study can be found here.