Rodney Ellis to introduce policy calling for 30% of County contracts go to MWBEs

The public is being urged to attend Harris County Commissioners Court in support of an effort to increase contracts with minority and women-owned businesses.

At a time when women and people of color are among those hardest hit by the ongoing economic recession, Harris County is pushing forward on economic equity and opportunity.

In response to a 2020 Disparity Study that shows less than 10 percent of Harris County contracts are awarded to minority- and woman-owned businesses, Commissioners Court on Tuesday will consider adopting a policy that sets annual aspirational goals for awarding at least 30% of county contracts and associated subcontracts to MWBEbusinesses.

The Minority- and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise Program Policy calls for providing MWBE firms information and technical assistance related to county contracting practices and procedures, bid specifications and other support to assist those firms to succeed and successfully compete for county contracts. The policy also permits the county to set narrowly tailored goals on specific contracts that are geared toward the specifics of the project. It requires that compliance with the Program be closely monitored.

“This year has revealed to many of us that inequality is rampant in many of our policies, programs and institutions,” said Commissioner Rodney Ellis, who in 2018 initiated the disparity study that shows 9.1 percent of county contracts were awarded to MWBE firms. “Harris County had to face the fact that disparities do exist in our procurement practices after the completion of our disparity study this year.”

The policy will be part of a broader program administered by the Office of Economic Equity and Opportunity.