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Milwaukee surpasses hiring, contracting goals

Contractors in 2008 surpassed the city of Milwaukee’s goals for hiring city residents and using small businesses on projects.

The city’s Residents Preference Program requires unemployed workers from low-income areas of the city perform 25 percent of hours worked on each project. Based on the 62 contracts awarded last year that were completed as of Nov. 9, 2009, RPP workers had performed 29.9 percent of hours on city projects, according to a draft city report.

Contractors in 2008 also surpassed the city’s Emerging Business Enterprise requirements. The EBE program requires small and minority-owned contractors to get at least 18 percent of all city contract money. In 2008, EBE companies received 23.2 percent of contract money, according to a report on the program.

The city awarded 159 construction contracts in 2008 with a total value of $56.4 million.

One comment

  1. Why do race or ethnicity need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It’s fine to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color or national origin. But that means no preferences because of skin color or what country your ancestors came from either–whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it costs the taxpayers money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it’s almost always illegal—indeed, unconstitutional—to boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and comments we submitted to the Colorado DOT here: http://www.ceousa.org/content/view/655/86/ ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose.

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