Most Arlington City Contracts Go to White-Owned Businesses

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A study shows that white-owned businesses get 80 percent of Arlington's city contracts.

    A two-year study shows that 80 percent of Arlington's city contracts are granted to white-owned businesses.

    Minority and female business owners say they are not surprised.

    "The numbers speak for themselves," said Rico Brown, an Arlington business owner.

    But city officials say minority- and female-owned businesses have simply not participated in as many bids.

    Arlington Contracts Not Going to Minority Businesses

    [DFW] Arlington Contracts Not Going to Minority Businesses
    A two-year study reveals 80% of contracts for the City of Arlington are going to white-owned businesses.

    Some business owners and residents are now pushing for the City Council to create a minority- and women-owned business enterprise program, or MWBE.

    "Most people would expect that a vendor base would be reflective of the tax base, and it currently is not," Brown said. "So anything that Arlington can do to remedy that, I think, would be a step in the right direction."

    Anthony Bond, former president and founder of the Irving chapter of the NAACP, said it is "absurd" that a city the size of Arlington does not have a MWBE program. Bond pushed the Irving City Council for years to create one.

    When the Cowboys Stadium was being built, the Arlington City Council encouraged the team to enter into a fair-share agreement so that minority- and women-owned businesses would get a fair share of construction contracts.

    "What we're talking about now with the disparity study is having a policy in Arlington's books that is going to encourage the utilization of minority businesses," Brown said. "So if your question is, 'Should Arlington be embracing the same thing that they encourage our corporate partners to do?' The answer is yes."

    The study suggested several remedies, including the creation of an MWBE program, breaking large projects into smaller ones and offering post-bid conferences with unsuccessful vendors, something the city said it already offers.

    "They can meet with the agent that ran the bid and they can ask, 'How can I become better for next time?'" said Debra Carrejo, purchasing manager for the city of Arlington. "That is critical, and we do not have a lot of vendors that take advantage of that."

    The city plans to take a look at the findings of the study in the next few months.