A group of the city’s minority chambers of commerce claim not enough local contracts are going to local small, minority and women owned businesses. The group – known as the Fair Contracting Coalition - is made of chambers like the Hispanic Chamber, Asian American Chamber, Alamo City Chamber and others.
Nearly three dozen people packed a meeting room at the east side’s Atlas Body Shop last week to go over letter grades the coalition awarded to 16 government agencies based on how many contracts go to small, women, or minority owned business.
VIA got a “C,” CPS Energy received a “D,” the University Health System got an “F.”
Chris Herring, Chairman of the Texas African American Chambers of Commerce says some of these agencies have spending patterns that do not include Asian, African American, Native American, or Hispanic Businesses.
“We are monitoring, we hope that you improve, and we hope to make sure that these business can gain more wealth so that they can take care of their families.”
Ramiro Cavasos, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce agrees.
“We want them to do a better job of putting our public dollars back into the local community.”
The City of San Antonio received a “B.” The City says in 1992 only ten percent of its contracts went to small, minority, or women owned businesses. That number is now up to 46 percent.
Michael Sindon, assistant director of the City’s small business office, says the city noticed there needed to be changes made to its economic development advocacy program.
“What we essentially want to see: the same level dollars the city spends through our city contracts matching the percentage of available small, minority, women owned business for each of those industry categories. Currently we are meeting that in our architecture and engineering industry and we’re close in some of the others.”
Representatives for VIA, CPS Energy, the San Antonio housing Authority and University Hospital were also present at the meeting and pledged to work with the Fair Contracting Coalition.