Commissioners Move Toward Diversity With Ordinance - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Commissioners Move Toward Diversity With Ordinance

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DOWNTOWN MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) - On Thursday the Shelby County Commission said it is taking seriously the charges that county contracts are not awarded to minority businesses on a fair basis with a new ordinance aimed at attacking that disparity.

The resolution was passed 10-0 at a specially called meeting. The intent is real but the implementation of any reform could take the better part of six months.

The resolution calls for a study by an independent firm to analyze the process by which county contracts are awarded with the primary question being, "Are minority firms given a fair shot at those county work contracts?"

Commissioners voted to have the firm then come up with recommendations on how to change the procedures the county would follow. This study has been a long time coming, Commissioner Walter Bailey said and presently there are no hard, fast rules in place to prevent discrimination.

"The purpose of the resolution today was for us to have an analysis done by a competent firm in the field and give us guidance in terms of what we really need in place," Commissioner Bailey said.

The specially-called meeting didn't end without controversy. Commissioner Terry Roland objected that Commissioner Henri Brooks was allowed to vote at all, given the fact that she is under investigation by the county attorney for possibly violating the commission's residency rule.
Commissioner Brooks called Roland's challenge a "high-tech lynching," saying that there has been no finding that she has violated any commission rules. She asked that Commissioner Roland's objection be stricken from the record.

"Her outburst was an expression of outrage at not having any Blacks who were going to be on board to do work that the county had contracted for," Commissioner Bailey said.

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