December 18, 2007

Minority-pact law will set compensation targets in city

Baltimore will set specific targets for how much money black- and Hispanic-owned subcontractors should receive from companies that bid on city work under legislation signed yesterday by Mayor Sheila Dixon.

At a City Hall bill signing, Dixon praised the law - which will reauthorize and revise the city's minority-owned business program - as an important measure to ensure that minority- and women-owned businesses receive a slice of the wealth generated by city spending.

"This legislation reinforces the city's commitment to the promotion of full and equitable participation for minority and women's" business, Dixon said before signing the bill. "I cannot overstate the importance of this program to the economic health and prosperity of the city."

Local governments such as Baltimore's frequently require companies competing for municipal contracts to set aside a portion of the money they receive from the city to hire subcontracting firms owned by women or minorities. In the past, Baltimore has not delineated what percentage of those subcontracts should go specifically to which racial and ethnic groups.

Now the city will set those sub-goals for any construction contract of more than $1 million, and for all architectural and engineering contracts. Specific sub-goals for each group's participation in various kinds of contracts will be set based on the availability of minority- or women-owned firms to do the work, officials said.

"It is vital to Baltimore's future and health," said City Councilwoman Helen L. Holton, who shepherded the legislation through the City Council this year. "It is important for us to be inclusive in our business dealings in the City of Baltimore."

John Fritze

Howard County

: North Laurel

Man sentenced for killing dog

A former North Laurel man who admitted he poisoned his neighbors' dog was sentenced yesterday in Howard County Circuit Court to 30 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, according to a spokesman for the state's attorney's office. Jack C. Schroeder, 59, formerly of Rachel Yates Court in North Laurel, pleaded guilty last month to a misdemeanor charge of attempted aggravated animal cruelty. Schroeder, who lives in Greenbelt, apologized to his neighbors at yesterday's sentencing, saying, "What I did was way, way out of line," according to prosecutors.

Tyeesha Dixon

Carroll County

: Finksburg

Car hits tree, killing Owings Mills woman

An Owings Mills woman died yesterday in Carroll County after her car crashed into a tree, Maryland State Police said. About 11 a.m., police said, Jessica A. McGonigal, 28, of the 9200 block of Christo Court was driving at high speed east on Deer Park Road in Finksburg when she lost control of her car and hit a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.

Arin Gencer

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