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Will “female and minority business enterprises” suffer if Human Rights Commission and Director cease operation?

City Hall in Mason City
City Hall in Mason City

by Matt Marquardt –

MASON CITY – The City of Mason City is currently seeking bidders for a the 2013 Street Panel and Curb Replacement Program and likely many other spring projects.

Reading through the public notice to alert bidders to this project, I came across an interesting paragraph that outlines the role and duties of the Mason City Human Rights Commission and Director as the City selects the winning bidders for its public works projects:

Prospective bidders’ or contractor’s attention is specifically called to the Mason City Human Rights Commission Specifications which mandates that female and minority business enterprises shall be afforded the maximum opportunity to participate in the performance of this project. Prospective bidders’ or contractor’s attention is also directed to the fact that the Mason City Human Rights Commission will notify firms designated as Minority, Women, and/or Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, of this project and determine if they are interested in participating as subcontractors for this project. Prospective bidders or contractors shall then be notified by the Commission of those interested parties. Determination of certification of compliance with those specifications shall be conducted by the Mason City Human Rights Director, following receipt of bids from prospective bidders or contractors.

NorthIowaToday.com has already reported that Human Rights Director Lionel Foster -although with no intention of resigning- will not be funded by the City Council in next year’s budget. NIT has also reported that the Human Rights Commission has considered dissolution once the council de-funds the agency, leaving only a part-time person to take claims and send them to Des Moines.

If the Human Rights Commission and Director are both gone, will female and minority business enterprises be at a disadvantage?

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