Unfinished Business of NCGS § 143-128.2: Goals, Fair Share & Good Faithby GDN Shared Post March 31, 2016
Our readers know that over the past several months we’ve focused our articles on the economics of politics, voter engagement and the lack of fair and equitable spending when it comes to public bodies. I’m continuing this focus by touching on the history of NCGS § 143-128.2 Minority business participation goals and its long track record of support by the Legislative Black Caucus.
The lack of participation by black businesses and black communities in hiring and spending opportunities of their school board continues. The issues of goals, fair share, “Good Faith” and economic opportunities are long standing in black communities.
We’re using the discussions of the Pitt County School Board as a case study in how public bodies should be approached and asked to pursue diversity outreach in their hiring and spending policies. The 17 minutes video clip of the Pitt County Board of Education is a must see clip for those seeking economic equality from public bodies.
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The process of creating equity in public hiring and spending is very complex and continues to be compromised by historical opposition borne of nearly 400-years of economic exclusion and exploitation. Those policies are alive and well today and must be methodically attacked to be overcome. As I write on this topic I’ll offer numerous conclusions that I’ve arrived at during my intimate dealing with this issue for nearly forty years. I’ll try and explain my conclusions by referring to previous articles or expanding on them in future articles.
From the elected official perspective, two people that I’m confident can offer the best historical context that our readers need to properly understand the important details and evolution of NCGS § 143-128.2 Minority business participation, are Senator Dan Blue and Representative H.M. “Mickey” Michaux. They were there and playing lead roles in the creation of this legislation. From a non-profit perspective Andre Harris, Co-Founder and Senior Fellow of the Institute of Minority Economic Development, is the expert in minority business participation. For many years the Institute has guided minority businesses impacted by NCGS § 143-128.2.
As I understand it, presently the Pitt County Board of Education has an estimated $25,000,000.00 worth of building to be done and has no minority business plan. I also understand that as a result of the minority business participation issue raised at their February 1 meeting there is a movement afoot to create a NCGS § 143-128.2 minority participation goal of 10% and to initiate other changes to create fair share and economic inclusion in their hiring and spending. If they do so our communities should be forewarned that creating goals and actually creating business for minority businesses are not the same thing.
Many public bodies have NCGS § 143-128.2 goals in place and the contracts awarded under their plans often go to white women owned businesses to the exclusion of Black owned businesses. As our readers follow this case study, one of the first things that they’ll need to understand is that women owned businesses are defined as minority businesses and are often used to satisfy minority goals to the detriment of Black businesses.
This practice is what I describe as following the letter of the law and not the spirit of the law. This practice is totally unacceptable by those who support economic justice. Our public spending initiatives must include strategies to overcome those that continue to “red line” Black businesses. Red lining is a figure of speech that describes a discriminatory practice used by banks and insurance companies to lock Black businesses and consumers out of certain economic markets. Again, this is an ongoing part of a 400-year history.
It is also important to understand disparity studies and the role that they play in minority business participation. I’ve written about them in the past, but a comprehensive, must read review entitled Documenting Disparity in Minority Contracting: Legal Requirements and Recommendations for Policy Makers, was done several years ago. (See link No. 3 below).
I’ve repeatedly written that there is no economic opportunity issue for Black voters and communities on the ballot for our November 2016 General Elections. In my humble opinion public spending should be that issue. If there are others, that is all well and good. But today, I recommend urging all candidates that benefit from Black votes to urge their public bodies to enact NCGS § 143-128.2 initiatives.
We need our Black Elected officials, Legislative Black Caucus members and local elected officials to help turn NCGS § 143-128.2 into a success. The Pitt County School Board efforts represent an excellent starting point, but unless others step up to the plate with other public bodies, we’re wasting 40 years of political fighting for economic equity and we’re failing to “vote our economics.”
Obviously, NCGS § 143-128.2 has not accomplished what it was intended to accomplish, but I’m confident that what wasn’t accomplished in the law with a proper focus, can be accomplished at the “ballot box” and in future community meetings.
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Peter Grear, Esq. writes for Greater Diversity News with a primary focus on political, social and economic justice. To support our efforts, to unite our politics and economics, please “Like” and follow us at www.facebook.com/greaterdiversitynews, “Share” our articles and post your ideas and comments on Facebook or at our websites www.GreaterDiversity.com. He is available for radio commentaries upon request. Follow Peter on twitter.com/yourrighttovote. Finally, please ask all of your Facebook “Friends” to like and follow our page.