Every now and then every politician has to admit it.
They don’t like to admit it, but they must admit it.
They made a mistake.
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, welcome to the I made a mistake club.
Minority and women business enterprises. MWBE.
The goal is to get them involved, get them into situations where city and taxpayer money go their way.
In a city where more there is an African-American majority of more than 60%, MWBE involvement is a major issue for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, and his opponents in the mayor’s race.
It is not easy.
“The cities that are leading the way in this charge,” Mayor Strickland says, “… Chicago and Atlanta are about 30%. That’s our goal. We want to be one of the leading cities in this field. But if it were easy, it would have been done 20 years ago.”
Earlier this year, Mayor Strickland said Memphis was at 24 when it came to MWBE contracts.
A mistake in accounting now means it is more like 17%, but he says the city is still making progress.
“The fact that cannot be lost here,” the Mayor says, “… is that we’re still increasing the MWBE spend. We’ve committed to it. It is hard to do, but we’re leading the way. I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
There have been improvements he says.
But Mayoral opponent Tami Sawyer questioned just how much Mayor Strickland has had to do with improvements.
“I think more needs to be done,” she told supporters, last week. Sawyer said the figures quoted by the Mayor “… are national trends. Those national trends impact our city.”