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City MWBE spend nearly doubles under Strickland
City MWBE spend nearly doubles under Strickland
Posted on 07/25/2018

Just two complete fiscal years into Mayor Jim Strickland’s tenure, the City of Memphis has almost doubled its share of spending with minority- and women-owned businesses (MWBEs).

In the 2017-18 fiscal year, which ended June 30, the City spent 23.6 percent of its contracting dollars with MWBEs. That’s up:

  • 98 percent from the 11.9 percent the City spent in the 2014-15 fiscal year;
  • 79 percent from the 13.2 percent the City spent in 2015-16;
  • and 11 percent from the 21.3 percent the City spent in 2016-17.

The gains have been the direct result of Mayor Strickland making MWBE spending a priority in City government. In February 2016, a few weeks after he took office, Mayor Strickland eliminated the two City offices that focused on MWBEs and created one — the Office of Business Diversity and Compliance. He hired Joann Massey to run it and issued a City-wide charge about the importance of MWBE contracting.

“To truly boost our economy and realize our vision of a more prosperous and equitable third century, we must do everything we can to empower locally-owned, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses,” Mayor Strickland said. “Improving our economy like this will have a long-term positive impact on our challenges, such as crime and poverty. Our work continues, but the results to date speak for themselves.”

Under Mayor Strickland, Memphis has turned heads nationally for its improvements. In January, Fast Company named Memphis the No. 1 city in America for black businesses

In June, the City launched The 800 Initiative — a partnership designed to increase the capacity of local MWBEs to gain more contracts in the private sector.

Cities commonly viewed as the national leaders with MWBEs typically spend roughly 30 percent of contracting dollars with MWBEs.

The MWBE improvement is part of a set of data improvements announced today at Mayor Strickland's monthly data dashboard review. That’s a meeting in which Mayor Strickland gathers City directors in a monthly effort to share data — part of his pledge to measure results, share them with the public, and hold the City accountable.

Other updates from this month’s review:

  • Libraries continued to show dramatic growth in programming and participation. In the fiscal year that just ended, Libraries hosted 110,180 guests for its programming — up 106 percent from the attendance of 53,491 in 2015. Youth attendance was up 112 percent in that same time frame. The dramatic rise is due to the dramatic increase in programming instituted under Mayor Strickland and Libraries Director Keenon McCloy — from 2,441 programs in 2015 to 6,293 programs this past fiscal year.
  • The City answered 97.1 percent of 911 calls within 20 seconds or less in June. Answering calls within 20 seconds or less 95 percent of the time is the national standard. The average answer time in June was 6.9 seconds, a new record. (When Mayor Strickland took over in January 2016, the average answer time was 59.7 seconds.)
  • Violent crime is down 7.6 percent in the first six months of 2018 versus the same time frame in 2017. Property crime is up 6.4 percent. The property crime rise is due solely to increases in two categories — thefts of automobiles, and thefts from automobiles. Also, the police headcount moving average is now in a positive trajectory for the first time since 2012.
  • False burglary alarms, which sap limited police resources, are down 21 percent year-to-date due to new regulations and oversight from the Metro Alarms Office.
  • Memphis Animal Services saved 88.5 percent of the animals in its care, just shy of its goal of 90 percent. That’s up from about 50 percent when Mayor Strickland took office. MAS focuses its efforts on reducing euthanasia performed for time and space reasons. Euthanasia for time and space was performed just seven times in June, down from 96 times last June — a 93 percent drop.
  • The average time for Code Enforcement to respond to a new service request fell from 8.2 days last June to 5.1 days this June.
  • The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that some 6,338 more Memphians were employed in May of this year versus May 2017.
  • Slightly more than 50,000 young people were engaged in City athletics programs last fiscal year, a 29 percent increase from 2015.
  • MATA met both of its on-time goals — 95 percent for MATA Plus, and 76 percent for fixed-route bus service.

*An error was discovered in our calculation of  FY18

The full data presentation for this month is below:

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