Annapolis Triples Its Business With Women In 3 Years Money For Black, Hispanic Companies Drops

September 14, 1990|By Paul Shread

The amount of business the city of Annapolis does with women has tripled in the last three years, but money going to black-or Hispanic-owned businesses has declined.

A total of $1,113,670 -- or 14.2 percent -- of city business went to firms owned by women or minorities in fiscal year 1990, which ended June 30, said purchasing agent Brian Snyder. Only $76,000 of that money went to black-or Hispanic-owned businesses.

And although black-or Hispanic-owned businesses are receiving less city money, businesses owned by women continue to do well, receiving $1,011,066, or 12.9 percent of city business. The amount of business the city does with female-owned businesses has grown steadily, from $349,000, or 6.2 percent, in 1987.

Although the figures could increase as the remaining bills from 1990 trickle in, they show a marked contrast from previous years.

The city spent $951,000 with minority-owned businesses in fiscal year 1989, 12.9 percent of city business. About $134,000 of that money went to black-or Hispanic-owned businesses.

The city spent about $700,000 a year with minority-owned businesses in fiscal years 1987 and 1988. In each of those two years, about $290,000 of that money went to black-or Hispanic-owned businesses.

Although Snyder said he would like to give more city business to minority-owned firms, he is restricted by city purchasing guidelines.

"The figures are the figures," Snyder said. "I can't do anything about them, except to be more aware. We have limited resources. My job is to get the right product at the right price and get it here at a reasonable time. If I can do that with an Asian firm, the more power to it."

The city doesn't give preference to firms owned by female or minority citizens -- the firm with the lowest bid gets the contract.

Snyder said the city has tried to increase minority business by recruiting and by using smaller contracts. He said seven or eight black-owned firms received $140,000 in city business in 1987; about 35 black-owned businesses received $70,000 in city business in fiscal 1990.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, called the figures "atrocious," and said he will introduce legislation to increase business with minorities.

"The fact that we are doing less business with even more minority-owned companies does not make me jump for joy," he said.

Snowden proposed non-binding legislation two years ago that called for awarding 20 percent of city contract money to minority-owned businesses and 3 percent to firms owned by women.

The legislation passed by one vote but was never implemented because city officials worried about a Supreme Court decision that rejected a Richmond, Va., minority contract law. The Virginia law required non-minority contractors to subcontract 30 percent of that city's business to minority-owned firms.

Snowden said he will introduce legislation this fall that will address concerns raised by the Supreme Court's decision.

For other minorities, the amount of business the city awards to firms owned by Asians or American Indians has declined, while contracts awarded to Jewish businesses stayed about the same. All three groups received less than 1 percent of city business.

Copyright The Baltimore Sun 1990

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