The Kansas City Council is mulling changes to a program created to boost smaller minority- and women-owned businesses after a consultant found the city’s race- and gender-based contracting programs could be vulnerable to lawsuits because they’re too broad.
Colette Holt, the California attorney who authored the study, gave Kansas City mostly high marks, but she said a trend toward more conservative federal judges made it advisable for the city to address the program’s weaknesses.
The 20-year-old program was created to help address decades of discrimination. Last year, eligible firms received an estimated $295 million worth of business from city contractors.
But in light of the recent study, the city council is considering changes to the program. Items under consideration include:
- A provision that would allow large enough minority- and women-owned firms to win city jobs without hiring minority or women subcontractors
- Whether the net worth of a company’s owners should affect its eligibility for the program
- How to define “good faith” in a firm’s effort to find qualified minority subcontractors
Read more: Kansas City Star