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Essex County passes M/WBE, veteran biz ordinance

Published Jul 31, 2017

Earlier this month, the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders unanimously approved a measure establishing a minority-, women-, and veteran-owned business (MBE, WBE, VOB) set-aside and joint venture program.

Through the program, the County aims to get more MBEs, WBEs, and VOBs involved in the County's bid process.

With the set-aside initiative, the County will earmark certain goods and services, nonprofessional services, and professional service contracts specifically for qualified MBEs, WBEs, and VOBs.

The joint-venture program, on the other hand, will apply exclusively to construction contracts and aims help MBEs, WBEs, and VOBs obtain bonding by teaming with more established firms.

"This is about spurring economic development opportunities for companies that have been historically overlooked, disregarded, and systematically abused nationwide," Freeholder Rufus I. Johnson Johnson said.

The ordinance follows an internal review of the County's small business spending figures from 2014, 2015, and 2016. The study found that while 33 percent of County dollars were spent with small businesses, MBEs, WBEs, and VOBs were largely left out.

To be recognized by Essex County as a MBE, WBE, or VOB and receive information about the County's upcoming bid opportunities, businesses must be certified through the State of New Jersey's MBE, WBE, or VOB program and registered with the County's Office of Purchasing.

For more information about Essex County's new MBE, WBE, or VOB ordinance, visit http://www.essexcountynj.org/events_docs/1500566875.pdf.

To read the ordinance in full, visit http://www.ecode360.com/documents/ES1525/public/366685390.pdf.



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