Women, Minorities Not Getting Fair Share of NYC Contracts

Thu January 27, 2005 - National Edition

NEW YORK (AP) Businesses owned by minorities and women have failed to win their fair share of city contracts, according to a study released Jan. 25.

Researchers at Medgar Evers College, which conducted the analysis, found that only 11.7 percent of the $19 billion worth of contracts handed out from July 1997 to June 2002 went to firms owned by minorities and women.

The report, financed by the City Council, studied contracts from 23 mayoral agencies for the city, which is about 60 percent minority.

Among construction firms, the report found that businesses owned by white males won 71.5 percent of the contracts, although they represented only 43 percent of the available contractors.

Black-owned firms won 1.7 percent and represented 16.7 percent of available firms; female contractors won 3.2 percent and represented 21.5 percent of firms.

Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani abolished most of the advantages that had been given to minority and female businesses, including eliminating a 10 percent price preference for such firms. But several City Council members said the study shows that institutional racism still exists.

"They’ve been practicing a type of segregation that would warm the heart of arch segregationists of the past," Councilman James Sanders said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has created an advisory board to study the issue.