Annapolis isn't doing as much business with female-owned firms as city officials had thought.
A $339,000 contract the purchasing department had credited to a firm owned by women actually went to Dunton Contracting, whose principal owner is a white man.
Purchasing agent Brian Snyder said the city inadvertently credited the contract to a firm with a similar name that is owned by women. "We're human," Snyder said. "That's all I can say. We'll go back and get it right."
The error reduced the amount of contracts that went to women in fiscal year 1990 from about $1 million to $672,000, a slight increase over the amount of city money that went to women in fiscal year 1989.
The error reduces the city's total business with women and minorities to $774,000, or 9.5 percent of all city business, a decrease from 1989 in both percentage and total.
Since discovering the error, city officials have called for measures to increase business with women and minorities.
Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins wants the city to hire an equal employment officer, City Administrator Michael Mallinoff said. Hopkins had proposed hiring one this year, but the position was cut from the budget in a citywide hiring freeze.
Hopkins also plans to ask the council to endorse a policy calling for a certain percentage of city business to go to women and minorities. The City Council approved similar legislation two years ago, but decided not to implement it after the Supreme Court struck down a minority contract law in Richmond, Va.
Alderman Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, the sponsor of the initial legislation, plans to reintroduce the legislation, with several changes, in November.