MINORITY CAUCUS OF METRO NASHVILLE COUNCIL TO HOST RECEPTION TO HIGHLIGHT THE IMPACT OF HISTORIC LEGISLATION
Rodney K. Strong, chief executive officer of Griffin & Strong, PC, which conducted Metro Nashville’s most recent disparity study will give the keynote address. The reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at the Janet Ayers Conference Center at Belmont University.
NASHVILLE (March 8, 2019) – The minority caucus of the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County will host a reception to call attention to the impact of historic legislation it passed in January, and was subsequently signed into law by Metro Nashville Mayor David Briley. The reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at the Janet Ayers Conference Center at Belmont University. Rodney K. Strong, chief executive officer of Griffin & Strong, PC, will give the keynote address.
The Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County in January unanimously passed legislation to establish the Equal Business Opportunity program. Councilmember Tanaka Vercher, along with Councilmembers Sharon Hurt and Scott Davis, sponsored the measure. Vercher, Hurt, and Davis are all members of the minority caucus.
The ordinance requires Metro Nashville to – among other things – implement race- and gender-conscious subcontracting goals, based on marketing availability, for all public contracts. This is a significant departure from the current ordinance, which allows for a race- and gender-neutral subcontracting program. The legislative changes are set to go into effect on July 5.
“This historic legislation is our opportunity to remove the inherent, systemic barriers women and minorities have experienced when seeking to do business with our government agencies,” Vercher said. “For decades, many businesses have not had an equitable opportunity to participate in our city’s progress, and I am excited that this council and this mayor took the necessary steps to encourage the growth and development of women and minority owned companies.”
The historic legislative change comes on the heels of Metro Nashville’s most recent disparity study. The study found that the city’s procurement processes discriminated against women and minorities in its awarding of public contracts. It also determined, among other findings, that women and minority businesses were underutilized in public work.
Strong, who led the disparity study, will give the keynote address during the reception. Strong is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Griffin & Strong, PC. He is currently the project principal for public policy consulting engagements with several state and local governmental entities. Strong is widely considered one of the foremost national experts in the area of procurement disparity research and supplier diversity program development. His experience in these areas began in 1985 when then-Mayor Andrew Young appointed him Director of Contract Compliance for the City of Atlanta, a position he held until 1992.
In addition to the ordinance change, Mayor Briley announced in November the Small Business Reserve Program. This program allows Metro-Nashville to unbundle select public contracts to allow small businesses to compete for contracts on a tiered basis. Under the Small Business Reserve Program, small businesses – regardless of the owner’s race or gender – will compete for select projects based on size, scope, and capacity. The small business initiative, which is expected to go into effect this fall, will not require Metro Nashville Council approval.
“We are serious about leveling the playing field for all businesses,” Hurt said. “We want to take all the steps necessary to ensure minority businesses are able to create jobs and wealth. This recent ordinance, along with the other policy changes announced, are very positive steps in the right direction, and I am excited to see minority businesses benefit from them.”
The reception will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 14 at the Janet Ayers Conference Center at Belmont University. Registration and networking will begin at 5:30 p.m. The program will begin at 6 p.m. Free parking will be available in the Ayers Garage under the Janet Ayers Academic Center.
The event is free and open to the public; media are encouraged to attend. To RSVP, contact Roseanne Hayes via e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 615.880.3350. For media inquiries, contact Ashley Northington at DENOR Brands + Public Relations at [email protected].