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25% Of Boston's Contracts To Go To Women, Minority-Led Firms

BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced an executive order that will award 25% of city contracts to firms owned by minorities or women.

Mayor Walsh said Thursday that the city still has work to do "in equitable access to city contracting and growing business opportunities" in communities of color.

The order will award 15% of the contracts to women-owned firms and 10% to firms owned by minorities.

A city commissioned analysis of almost 48,000 contracts between 2014 and 2019 showed companies owned by people of color won just 2.5% of the total dollar amount of contracts awarded, the Boston Globe reported. In that time frame, the city spent 8.5% of its funds through contracts with firms owned by women.

"I have never run away from these numbers or this challenge," Walsh said. "We embrace the findings from the study, because this study now gives us a roadmap on how we move forward."

The order will also "require goal tracking and reporting as part of the annual budget process" starting in fiscal year 2023, Walsh said.

The head of the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Segun Idowu, says the executive order doesn't go far enough.

"The mayor essentially signed an executive order that said that 90% of city business should go to white businesses. And this is crazy in a city that is not 90 percent white," Idowu said.

"There are no levers of accountability in this executive order," Idowu continued. "There is some paragraph about reporting, there's a vague reference of a supplier diversity program, at the end of the day none of these things matter if a person, a department, cannot be held accountable to reach what the executive order calls for."

WATCH: Interview With Segun Idowu

Idowu says advocacy groups are calling for a higher share of spending, the unbundling of large contracts and for the city's Equity and Inclusion Unit to become its own department.

Earlier this week, The Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Latino Network, Lawyers for Civil Rights and Amplify Latinx filed a federal complaint about the city's contract selection process.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, said Thursday that a "federal intervention is still needed" and pushed for more aggressive contracting goals.

Walsh has been nominated to be the nation's next labor secretary, and the U.S. Senate could vote on his confirmation in the coming days.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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