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2020 was a rough year for DE&I in Philly government. Photo: Pixabay
2020 was a rough year for DE&I in Philly government. Photo: Pixabay

Philly didn’t reach its 35% threshold in 2020 for diverse contracting

The report from Mayor Jim Kenney’s office comes just under a month after a City Controller report revealed the city also failed to promote diversity within its…

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In another blow to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, a recent report released by his office showed that the city failed to dole out enough of its contracts to businesses owned by women, people of color and people with disabilities in 2020.

The city sets its own threshold of 35% to meet, and only hit a 30% MWBE (Minority & Women Owned Enterprises) contracting mark last year.

A big reason the city gave to WHYY for why it fell short of its goal is the pandemic, which often quick action to fill needs rather than careful consideration of things such as diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We have to acknowledge that there were a lot of unknowns and things had to be addressed in a pretty quick way. So there are certain things, for example, that we just could not wait on,” Aiisha Herring-Miller, senior director of Philly’s Office of Economic Opportunity, told WHYY.

The lack of diverse contractors is just the latest issue of diversity, equity and inclusion at the city to receive scrutiny in the last month. 

Back on Oct. 20, 2020, the Philadelphia City Controller released its annual report of exempt employees, showing that the city did not hire any high-level Hispanic staff and fewer Black employees than in previous years.

The report from the City Controller was an exposure of the city’s failure to reach the diversity and inclusion Mayor Jim Kenney has talked about ever since taking office. In January 2020, Kenney’s administration implemented diversity, equity and inclusion training for all city managers.

Those efforts were supposedly ramped up even more so following a Summer in 2020 that saw the city and country grapple with the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd.

As a response to both reports, the Mayor’s Office acknowledged its need to improve on the recruitment of diverse candidates, but offered nothing in the way of solutions beyond its previous commitments and efforts.

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