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Minority-construction contracts fall in Cook County

Friday, July 14, 2006
Chicago Sun-Times
by STEVE PATTERSON Staff Reporter

There was a time when minority participation on Cook County government construction contracts ran as high as 45 percent.
But since a judge said the county's minority-participation requirement was illegal as written, the numbers have plummeted.
From 2003 through July 2005, minority-owned firms collected only 17 percent of the $84 million in prime county construction contracts, while minority firms got just 1.7 percent of all county construction subcontracts.
Those figures were released to county board members Thursday as part of a report presented by Colette Holt -- who helped the Daley administration draft a minority-contracting plan that has held up to court scrutiny.
After years of delay, the county now has a roadmap to do the same.
Helping the case, Holt wrote, will be the records showing that a "huge decline in participation occurred almost immediately," which "strongly implies" that without government requirements for minority participation on jobs, the firms probably won't be included.
Plans for an interim county program will be introduced in September, but a permanent plan still needs much work by the county, including sorting through years of paperwork, Holt said.


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