Lack of Communication Delays MWBE Report During Board Working Session

The municipal council working session on the Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) program for Thursday, September 30 has been postponed.

The Rhino Times has repeatedly noted that the public and council members do not have information about city council working sessions until hours or sometimes minutes before the meeting, making it difficult to review of material prior to meeting.

This working session turned out to be a case where the left hand in town hall did not know what the right hand was doing. Or more specifically, municipal staff do not communicate with Mayor Nancy Vaughan.

Deputy City Manager Kim Sowell was cut off before she could begin the staff presentation on the MWBE program, who mostly explained what the MWBE program is, the legal rationale for the program and details on the forms and the affidavits that contractors are required to complete.

Sowell was interrupted by Michele Clark Jenkins, senior director, consultancy group for Griffin & Strong PC, the company that carried out the disparity study for the city and was subsequently hired to consult on the implementation of the MWBE program of the city.

Jenkins said: “I was asked to attend the meeting for Griffin & Strong, but when I was invited on Monday I could only stay until 3 am. I just wanted to say I’m going to have to cut the call. I haven’t had the opportunity, as a company we haven’t had the opportunity to review the MWBE program and its processes, so we would like to do that ASAP. But we haven’t talked to them about how they do things or what they do. We would love to be able to do so in the near future. “

Vaughan said, “I apologize. If I had known this, we would have taken this as the first element.

Sowell explained that the contract with Griffin & Strong had expired, so the city could not hire the company until the contract was renewed. But she said staff were ready to make their presentation, especially on how “good faith efforts” were handled.

Vaughan said it would make more sense to have the full discussion in a meeting rather than reviewing the program twice and there were no objections from members of city council.

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