Minority procurement stalls again

Rockford’s proposed women and minority procurement policy finally made its way to the Council floor a during the June 19 meeting. But aldermen approved Ald. Ann Thompson’s (D-7) motion to send the document back to committee.

Thompson said those who helped craft the document, including minority business leaders, need a chance to review the changes and provide some insight.

“They have no idea of all the changes. It’s a matter of everyone giving their input and finding a solution,” she said.

Andy Campos said, “We’re not going to let this go.” He criticized the removal of the numbers from the policy. The original document called for setting a goal of achieving 25 percent minority and 5 percent women participation. “You can’t have a policy with zero percent,” Campos concluded.

The city’s Codes and Regulations Committee hoped to get the policy to the Council floor during the June 5 meeting. But City of Rockford Legal Director Patrick Hayes said, after that meeting, the unanticipated changes forced it to be dealt with at the June 12 meeting.

Committee Chairman Ald. Frank Beach (R-10) said it needed to go through the normal channels and be read in at that meeting.

Thompson, the policy’s champion, moved to send the policy back to committee because of the changes, Ald. Patrick Curran (R-2) advocated.

According to Thompson, Curran initiated the revisions and “(He) was making changes while he talked.”

Curran said he advocated only two changes. He said the 25 percent minority and 5 percent minority participation goal was eliminated. Instead, Curran said, a goal would be instituted after the policy was monitored for a year.

He also said giving the equal employment opportunity officer the responsibility to recruit and mentor minority businesses was wrong “We are not in the business of social engineering,” Curran said. He asserted it duplicates services already available. Curran said Rock Valley College has a business incubator. The college is home to the Rock River Valley Entrepreneurship Center.

Thompson has been at the center of controversy concerning a subcontract her business, Galaxy Cleaning Services, received from Sjostrom Construction for providing concrete for the new Winnebago County jail.

Winnebago County State’s Attorney Paul Logli found nothing illegal in Thompson’s actions, yet community reaction to the questionable deal has cost her support within her party and affected City Council votes.

From the June 21-27, 2006, issue

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