Mayor John Cranley: Will new initiative make a dent in Cincinnati's minority-contracting results?

Effort marks third, major attempt since 2009

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley made good on a campaign promise Wednesday when he announced the creation of a new advisory council to channel more city contracts to companies owned by women and minorities.

The question is, will this effort be any different?

Cranley’s initiative marks the third time since 2009 that officials have undertaken a major effort to improve the city of Cincinnati’s dismal minority contracting results.

Two of the people who have pushed hardest for change in recent years say they believe this time will be different for one reason: Cranley.

“It’s the mayor, that’s the difference,” said Councilman Christopher Smitherman, who was president of the NAACP Cincinnati chapter in 2009 when the group blasted former Mayor Mark Mallory for the city’s poor minority-contracting results. “He’s taking ownership.”

Added Councilman Charlie Winburn: “Former Mayor Mark Mallory is a good man, but I think he talked inclusion and equality, and his actions spoke differently.”

WCPO Insiders can read about the city's history of attempts to improve its minority-contracting results, how low those contracting numbers remain and what business leaders think about how this effort will be different.

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