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All-Star Game savings may go to fire recruits

Posted at 1:24 AM, Nov 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-19 01:24:05-05

CINCINNATI -- Savings from last summer's All-Star Game could go toward funding a fire recruit class, or at least part of it anyway.

City Manager Harry Black reported Wednesday that the city used $400,000 less than budgeted for work related to the July event, most of that amount coming from the Cincinnati Police Department.

Black recommended using $250,000 of the savings to partially fund a class of 40 fire recruits; he said he'd come up with the rest of the estimated $1 million expense elsewhere.

The other $150,000, Black told City Council, should go toward helping the city enact historic changes to its contracting program, after a study found a tiny sliver of dollars were awarded to women- and minority-owned businesses between 2009 and 2013. City Council approved Black's plans for a program to steer more contracts to women- and black-owned businesses, specifically.

IN DEPTH: How city is changing its contracting program

His recommendations came after the city had undertaken a lengthy study to determine if there were disparities in how it award its contracts; experts say the so-called Croson Study was needed for the city's minority contracting program to stand up to potential court challenges. 

What Cincinnati's Croson study found was stark: a small number of businesses – just 96 – won contracts that accounted for 70 percent of the dollars the city spent. An even smaller number – 38 businesses owned by white men – accounted for half the city's spending. The study found there are far more black- and women-owned companies that are willing and able to do work for the city than have been winning contracts.

Changes in the city's contracting policies are designed to address that disparity by, among other things, setting targets for local companies to hire women- and minority-owned companies as subcontractors to do smaller pieces of city jobs.