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VOL. 126 | NO. 26 | Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Wharton: City Contract Procurement Overhaul Coming Next Month

By Bill Dries

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The day after he released a report on how to make city government more efficient, Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. told those at an East Memphis luncheon his administration has more plans for reforming the city’s economic development outlook and strategy.

Wharton made the comments Tuesday as he spoke to more than 100 members of the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners at Crescent Center.

“This is why we have been left out,” Wharton said, referring to a splintered economic development pitch. “Taxes and crime are a problem everywhere.”

Wharton said after the remarks that in about a month, his administration will announce an overhaul of the process City Hall uses for awarding contracts and change its procurement practices.

“It won’t be a new department. It will be a new program that will bridge the gaps that presently exist,” Wharton said later.

Small business owners have complained in the past that city procurement contracts are bid as large pieces that made it nearly impossible to consider small businesses. They have advocated breaking up such contracts whenever possible into smaller pieces giving more opportunities to locally owned small businesses.

Wharton touted a move by the city away from the MWBE program – Minority Women’s Business Enterprises – which certifies minority vendors to do business with city government.

The recently opened Business Opportunities Program replaces the city’s MWBE program.

“It’s more inclusive,” Wharton said of the new program “It includes all ethnic divisions, small business and women.”

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 65 366 17,721
MORTGAGES 70 417 23,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 15 91 4,519
BUILDING PERMITS 210 932 42,157
BANKRUPTCIES 62 299 16,691
BUSINESS LICENSES 19 80 5,781
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 49 305 25,174
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 96 5,381

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