Is old computer system keeping minority companies from getting work in Shelby County?

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An older Shelby County computer system isn’t updating the number of minority-owned contractors in the area.

Currently, commissioners are not sure if groups are being left out, so they’re putting the IT team on notice to get it fixed.

Remember when Henri Brooks said this?

“To allow and out of town company to come in and change the value of this community. It’s disrespectful of the black community.”

Politically correct or not, it really could be a problem in Shelby County.

The same companies, many of which are minority participants, keep getting the contracts because the county computer system isn’t keeping track of which minority-owned companies aren’t getting a slice of the pie.

Commission Chair James Harvey said, “Consequently, today fast forward, we get commissioners fighting and bickering all the time over who are the minorities?¬† Who is running the contracts?”

Fixing the problem requires research and money.

If it’s not done, the same crews will keep getting county contracts.

“If you look in the telephone book, there are thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of businesses. But we have a very small pool of businesses that are coming forward to do business with county government,” Harvey said.

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission and the Locally Owned Small Business Initiative currently keep track with who’s doing business with the county, but can’t get minority information on county computers.

Harvey said they need to know, “Who they are, what size they are, what gender they are, what race they are.”

Commissioners also need that information for contract decisions, like the Hispanic roofing contract  that stirred up all the controversy.

Harvey said,¬† “Even if some of the small businesses decide for some reason they did not want to participate, from a knowledge perspective, they understand that the opportunities do exist.”

11 comments

  • theawfulawfultruth

    Do you want people doing a job who are qualified to do it or, or doing it simply because they are the ‘right’ color? That’s exactly why Memphis has become a laughing stock and an embarrassment.

  • Joe

    or maybe its because the companies getting the contracts are greasing the hands of those who approve the bids…..

    odds are that’s happening….over and over again…….you think lobbying for business only occurs in Washington DC?
    WREG…..take a look at the relationship between the few minority businesses getting these contracts and I bet the handprints of members of the city council are all over it….both black and white

  • Aron white

    I don’t know what the black community has to do with minority businesses. African Americans are the majority in shelby county not the minority.

    • Dr. JohnS

      Aron, your information did not sound correct so I had to look it up. You are correct.
      Shelby County:
      White alone, percent, 2012 (a) 42.9%
      Black or African American alone, percent definition and source info Black or African American alone, percent, 2012 (a) 52.8%
      American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent definition and source info American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2012 (a) 0.3%
      Asian alone, percent definition and source info Asian alone, percent, 2012 (a) 2.5%
      Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent definition and source info Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2012 (a) 0.1%
      Two or More Races, percent definition and source info Two or More Races, percent, 2012 1.4%
      Hispanic or Latino, percent definition and source info Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012 (b) 5.9%
      White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent definition and source info White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2012 37.9%
      In Memphis:
      White alone, percent, 2010 (a) 29.4%
      Black or African American alone, percent definition and source info Black or African American alone, percent, 2010 (a) 63.3%
      American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent definition and source info American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent, 2010 (a) 0.2%
      Asian alone, percent definition and source info Asian alone, percent, 2010 (a) 1.6%
      Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent definition and source info Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent, 2010 (a) Z
      Two or More Races, percent definition and source info Two or More Races, percent, 2010 1.4%
      Hispanic or Latino, percent definition and source info Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2010 (b) 6.5%
      White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent definition and source info White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent, 2010 27.5%

  • Dr. JohnS

    One guess is that they do not want to deal with the commissioners and people like Henri Brooks. It would take a lot of money for me to want to go to the meetings.

  • Hard Truths

    I’m sick of Henri Brooks and her posturing. Anyone who thinks she’s doing the African-American community any favors is dumber than a rock.

  • Nancy

    There is something wrong with a contractor if the city has to hunt them down and ask them to bid on a job. Do you really want someone who doesn’t have any more initiative than that running a job for the city?

Comments are closed.

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