Mayor Briley signed the historic Equal Business Opportunity ordinance on Jan. 11 at the Mayor’s Office during a special ceremony to commemorate the occasion.
This legislation represents the first step in establishing equity in Metro contracting and levels the playing field for women- and minority-owned businesses seeking work with Metro Government.
According to Briley, the days of the Nashville Metropolitan government being an “obstacle” in the way of awarding Metro contracts is over.
“It’s a program that will level the playing field for the first time with Metro government,” said Briley. “For minority and women owned businesses equal prosperity in our community are my top priorities. I believe that Nashville needs to support all its residents in this moment of great prosperity to make sure everyone gets a chance to see t heir fullest potential realized.”
The mayor was joined on stage by the primary bill sponsors, including: Sharon Hurt, Tanaka Vercher and Scott Davis, other co-sponsoring council members and the Mayor’s Office Chief Diversity Officer Ashford Hughes.
“I’m grateful to the Metro Council, especially primary sponsors Tanaka Vercher, Sharon Hurt and Scott Davis, and to everyone else who worked with my administration to make this happen,” said the Mayor. “Along with executive actions I’m taking to improve procurement regulations, this ordinance launches a new era in Metro.”
East Nashville Councilman and Chairman of the Minority Caucus Scott Davis thanked the mayor for keeping his promise to level the government’s procurement playing field and for having the political will to accomplish it.
“It is a tough job in this city and many months ago when new Mayor Briley came, we asked him ‘Do you have the political will to do this?’ and he said ‘yes,’” said Councilman Scott Davis.
Davis also thanked his fellow council members who co-sponsored the legislation, Tanaka Vercher and Sharon Hurt, saying it would not have been possible without their help.
On January 3, the Metro Council unanimously approved the Equal Business Opportunity Program legislation, which will level the playing field for minority-owned and women-owned companies seeking contracts with Metro government. The legislation was introduced as a result of a disparity study showing that the Metro government had significant disparities in the awarding of Metro contracts.
Over the next four months, the Mayor’s Office will host community conversations across Nashville to introduce and explain the new program to make sure that business owners and the community are aware and understand the opportunities.
Co-sponsoring Councilwoman Tanaka Verger thanked the mayor saying: “A feat such as this wouldn’t be possible without the support of the administration. We know it was needed. It was long overdue. “It’s been a long arduous process. It’s a new day for Metro government. We’re removing barriers and the opportunity is there.”
Councilwoman Sharon Hurt said that it took courage for the mayor to do what he did, adding: “I am so proud to call myself a Nashvillian.”
Hurt also took the opportunity to recognize Marilyn Robinson, the CEO of the Nashville Minority Business Center, who has been fighting for equity in government contracts on a city and state level for decades.