Kansas City considers changes to program for minority- and women-owned firms

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

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