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DETROIT'S SHELTERED MARKET ORDINANCE OPENS OPPORTUNITIES FOR MINORITY-OWNED BUSINESSES

 DETROIT, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Mayor Coleman A. Young said today (Wednesday, July 7) Detroit's sheltered market ordinance has accomplished its intended purpose of opening up opportunities for minority-owned businesses in Detroit.
 He said a federal court order invalidating the ordinance will have little effect on the percentage of city contracts awarded to minority- owned businesses.
 "The ruling by U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has, in effect, sunsetted an ordinance that proved very effective in its 10 years of existence in achieving what it was designed to accomplish," the mayor said.
 "The sheltered market program was designed to assure that qualified minority-owned firms could compete in areas that historically have been closed to them. It has always been viewed as a temporary program that would sunset when certain goals were met.
 "For the last four years, we have averaged more than $125 million a year in contracts to minority-owned firms, roughly 50 percent of the total value of contracts issued by the city each year. That is more than any other city in America.
 "As is true in the Police Department, where we are the only major department that approximates the community that it serves, we are more even-handed in the awarding of contracts than any other city.
 "We do not intend to go backward.
 "At the time we passed the sheltered market ordinance in 1983 only 12 percent of the total value of city contracts went to minority-owned firms, despite years of aggressive work on our part to open up opportunities for minorities.
 "The ordinance has enabled a substantial number of minority-owned firms to get their feet on the ground. Because they have become established, in recent years the vast majority of the contracts to minority-owned businesses have been issued through the normal competitive bidding process, rather than under the sheltered market program.
 "The court's ruling on this successful program is the latest result of actions by the U.S. Supreme Court that have pushed this country further and further to the right over the last 12 years, making it ever harder to continue our fight for affirmative action and for equality of opportunity for all people.
 "This ruling follows a recent federal appeals court ruling in Cincinnati that ended our affirmative action program for the promotion of sergeants in the Police Department.
 "Obviously, we still believe our ordinance is good public policy. We would have preferred that the court rule differently. But for the record, we are determined that the invalidation of the ordinance by the federal court shall have little, if any, immediate impact on the city's performance in awarding a fair share of business to minority-owned firms.
 "To help assure those gains are held, we will immediately begin to draft a new minority-set-aside ordinance that will continue the fight for affirmative action. Just as we will continue the fight for proper minority representation in the Police Department, we will continue the fight to assure that we are able to extend at least 50 percent of city contracts to qualified minority contractors."
 Judge Taylor's ruling says that the city followed the existing legal standards of the federal circuit court for this district in 1983 when it adopted the sheltered market ordinance.
 The judge's decision cites the history of federal court rulings on the subject and concludes that, "A major sea of change has occurred in the law governing affirmative action and set asides since 1983," so that the city's ordinance, while proper in 1983, does not now meet federal guidelines.
 "So the long and short of this history is that the standard which the Sixth Circuit was applying to affirmative action plans in 1983, when this ordinance was enacted, was reversed by the Supreme Court in 1986," the ruling says.
 -0- 7/7/93
 /CONTACT: Robert Berg of the Detroit Mayor's office, 313-224-1544/


CO: ST: Michigan IN: SU:

KE -- DE025 -- 9214 07/07/93 17:04 EDT
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Date:Jul 7, 1993
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