Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto recently launched a task force to improve city bidding procedures, specifically with a view to increasing participation by businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans. The task will include eight members drawn from Pittsburgh governmental entities and the private sector.
While Peduto has said he wants the task force to be as independent as possible, and to find ways to increase participation of disadvantaged certified businesses, he has suggested that Equal Opportunity Review Commission (EORC) reports be integrated more fully into minutes of council meetings. Currently, EORC is responsible for reviewing contracts to determine whether or not bidders have made a good faith effort (as is currently required under law) to meet the participation goals on certain contracts.
The formation of the task force comes in the wake of reporting of slippage in the good-faith effort review process. In July of 2018, the Pittsburgh City Council was found to have approved at least a dozen contracts for which an adequate good faith effort was not made by bidders. The law specifies participation goals of 18 percent for minority-owned businesses, or MBEs, and 7 percent by women-owned businesses, or WBEs (for professional services contracts above $25,000 and construction contracts above $250,000). In 2017, MBEs received 13.7 percent of city contracting while WBEs received 7.8 percent.