Consider This: EBO Requirements - - Jackson, MS

Consider This: EBO Requirements

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

A month ago, severe cold weather moved into the area causing serious challenges with broken water lines and low water pressure across the City of Jackson. It had a significant impact on businesses and residents, but the city did a respectable job dealing with those issues and fixing the problem as quickly as possible.

Bob Miller, the new Public Works Director, has proven to be a strong leader and the way he has handled these emergencies is impressive.

Unfortunately, instead of applauding city leadership for addressing the issues with a sense of urgency and getting businesses up and running, Aaron Banks, Ward 6 councilman, has instead complained that the city didn’t include enough minority contractors in the process.

Mayor Lumumba, however, countered that complaint saying the city did reach out to minority businesses but they didn’t have the capacity to do the work.

It is great that the city has a goal to include more minority businesses as part of the Equal Business Opportunity program or EBO. However, if the city doesn’t have qualified contractors to meet the EBO goal, then residents and businesses should not be punished with delays just to check off a box and meet some quota.

And in the case of an emergency, the city needs to fix the problem as quickly as possible and the EBO requirement should be removed in those situations.

Mayor Lumumba is on the record saying he is committed to increasing the number of minority-owned businesses that contract with the city but will review each case based on its merits. That’s a breath of fresh air and a proactive philosophy that should lead to more businesses wanting to work with the city of Jackson.

Instead of complaining about lack of participation, city council should work with the mayor to develop programs to help train EBO businesses on the services most needed so they are better qualified to be selected when the opportunities become available.

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