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GUARANTEES SOUGHT ON ROLE OF MINORITIES IN CONSTRUCTION

A Buffalo lawmaker wants the city to adopt by July 1 a comprehensive and uniform policy that guarantees minority participation on city construction projects.

Council Member at Large Charley H. Fisher III said he has already convened the first meeting of a new Minority Business Enterprise Committee. The committee was formed following a protest of the city's current minority contracting policy by Fisher and 50 labor leaders last week at Fillmore Avenue and East Ferry Street, where a new police station is under construction. Fisher returned to the site Wednesday, where he announced progress is in the making.

"I gathered all the heads of all the departments and shadow governments of this city in one room and demanded better," Fisher said. "I demanded we work toward a goal of participation levels commensurate with the level of minorities in our community."

While conceding that general contractor on the new police station project exceeds the city's current requirements for hiring minorities, Fisher said he still hopes to persuade the contractor, Montco Construction of Gowanda, to sign on more union workers and hire some minority contractors.

"I am not happy with the current situation," said Fisher.

"Unfortunately, despite the low levels of minority participation and virtual lack of minority subcontractors, and the failure of this general contractor to be listed on the city's certified minority business list . . . this company is in compliance with city rules. What this tells me is that this company is exploiting a weak system that the city has created," he added.

Fisher said he hopes the newly formed Minority Business Enterprise Committee can come up with some firm recommendations before July 1 to beef up the city's current policy on minority participation in new construction projects. The new City Charter takes effect on that date.

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