The City of Buffalo is poised to modernize its system for tracking whether contractors are meeting goals for hiring minority- and women-owned business on city projects.
The city currently has goals of 25 percent for minority business participation and 5 percent for women-owned companies. Soon, the Office of Contract Compliance will have a new electronic system for tracking whether those goals are being met.
LCP Tracker – a labor compliance software company – will provide the city with the new software system that requires contractors to upload compliance data into an online, user-friendly platform.
“It’s a new day here as far as MWBEs are concerned and making those goals come to fruition,” said Crystal Rodriguez, the city’s chief diversity officer.
Calling it a “long-awaited” solution, Rodriguez will oversee the implementation of the electronic tracking system.
“This is my priority for this year,” she said, adding that it is also a priority for Mayor Byron W. Brown.
“It’s important to the mayor that MWBE numbers and goals are attained as much as possible and that we also can begin to focus on growing our MWBEs here in Buffalo,” Rodriguez said.
But the focus of the new tracking system is broader than the minority- and women-owned businesses themselves, Rodriguez said.
“It’s not just how MWBEs fit in. The primary important part is how prime contractors fit in. I think the message that’s being delivered from me is that for prime contractors there’s really no escaping. Now that we have this tracker ... (contractors) will have to input these numbers,” Rodriguez said. “So there’ll be some consequences if (they’re) not meeting these goals or making the best good faith effort to meet these goals. And we’re able to track them better.”
In addition, the software will significantly reduce paperwork and will assist the Office of Contract Compliance in generating reports.
“After the LCP Tracker is implemented, the reports will come much quicker. They’ll be much more succinct, and we’ll be able to actually pinpoint where the goals are being met and where the goals are not being met,” Rodriguez said.
LCP will train contractors and city staff on the new system, and Common Council members will receive regular reports once the system is implemented, Rodriguez said.
The city will make a one-time payment of $76,071, and then there will be an annual fee of $41,223 that will be absorbed by the city’s Law Department, according to Rodriguez and paperwork filed with the city.
The Common Council is expected to approve the contract with LCP during its meeting Tuesday.
“This is a positive thing,” said University Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt. “It will be really helpful.”
A proposed timeline for implementation and training is scheduled to be discussed during Wednesday’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise Committee Task Force meeting at 11 a.m. in the Council conference room 1417 in City Hall.