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Source : Contractor News
March 17, 2023
Author : Alex Bustillos
The Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved the first official Minority/Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program Policy and Procedure Manual at their regular meeting. The County has been strengthening its M/WBE program and increasing the number of M/WBE companies participating in county contracts.
According to Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Melvin "Skip" Alston, "We want to ensure the spending power of Guilford County is promoting the economic inclusion of all segments of the business population." Through this new policy, the County wants to ensure that all firms that do business with the County do not discriminate based on race and gender when interacting with employees, subcontractors, suppliers, vendors, and other commercial customers.
The County contracted with Griffin & Strong, P.C. to conduct a disparity study. The study's findings were presented to the Board of Commissioners. It confirmed the need for the County's M/WBE program to be continued and gave recommendations to eliminate inequities and boost M/WBE participation in county contracts. The County has implemented two of the study's primary recommendations by adopting the official M/WBE Policy and Process Manual. The Board has already implemented the study's suggestion to boost M/WBE program resources and staffing.
The new official M/WBE policy aims to support greater participation in county contracts by MWBE firms and address the continuing effects of market discrimination that negatively affect their participation in the Guilford County contracts. It includes mandatory and non-mandatory contracting objectives depending on the size of the county contract and codifies the certification and registration requirements for MWBE business.
The policy will expire after the five years covered by the disparity study. At that point, the Board will be asked to consider and adopt an updated policy that aligns with a new disparity study. Adopting the policy fosters a strong contracting equity and inclusion culture and sets clear standards for staff, the public, and contractors doing business with the County.