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The City Council introduced legislation last week that would offer more opportunities to minority and women-owned businesses competing for city contracts. According to a study commissioned by the Council in 2003, minority and women-owned businesses each received only 7 percent of all contract dollars expended by the City, during the 1997 to 2002 study period. Council members James Sanders Jr., Hiram Monserrate, and Robert Jackson spearheaded the legislation, designed to build on a related executive order signed by the Mayor on Sept. 9. “This is much stronger and more enforceable than an executive order,” said Councilmember Jackson. The legislation, which has 22 co-sponsors, would set citywide goals, based on statistics gathered from the council’s disparity study, for each minority group and each type of contracting opportunity. It would also streamline M/WBE certification and require each city agency to establish a contracting plan in accordance with the goals. “We have fought too hard and waited too long for our government to still be discriminating and excluding men and women of color,” said Councilmember Monserrate. “I am pleased that the council has chosen to act on this crucial issue and I urge the mayor to support this bill.” (B. Farrell) [10/03/05]