Commission to award more contracts to minority-owned businesses

By Kevin Liles

Clayton County commissioners agreed Tuesday to look at adding a policy that would involve more minority-owned businesses in building contracts.

Commissioner Virginia Gray, the only black commissioner on the five-member board, said she would like to see some action by the board.

"We have been stagnant for a long time, and it's time for us to move forward," she said.

The commission heard from Democratic candidate for

The issue was raised at the commission's June 1 meeting, when a nearly $200,000 bid was awarded for a traffic and pedestrian access study for 10 Clayton County schools.

Five companies submitted bids, none of which were minority-owned.

Wesley Greene, president of the Association of Black Christian Ministers of Clayton County, reminded commissioners at the June 1 meeting that no minority-owned businesses were involved in the construction of the Harold R. Banke Justice Center Complex in Jonesboro.

During Tuesday's work session, commissioners agreed that they didn't want to adopt the same policies or programs Atlanta has used to try to get more minority-owned businesses in the bidding process.

Chairman Crandle Bray said in an interview that he has been researching the issue for a couple of weeks and hopes to have a proposal soon.

"You have to be careful," he said. "There are several legal loopholes you have to jump through, but we'll get through that."

The problem, he said, is that there are not many minority contractors in Clayton County to begin with.

"We want to invite them here," he said.

Eldrin Bell a candidate for commission chairman and a member of the Association of Black Christian Ministers of Clayton County, presented the commission with a four-page proposal entitled "SPLOTS Issues and Recommendations."

"The dilemma for the commission is how to mentor or incubate new African-American and disadvantaged business enterprises into Clayton County." Bell told the commission.