D.C. Mayor Marion Barry yesterday assured a group of minority businessmen that his administration will meet the goal of awarding 25 percent of the city's contracts to minority businesses.
But the Mayor also warned that "this administration will not tolerate... white fronts or any other fronts trying to take advantage of this program."
Sam D. Starobin, director of the Department of General Services, said, however, he has already seen subversion of the minority contract program. Starobin said he could "name a couple names" of minority-front companies, "but I won't."
Starobin also said that other possible subversion of the program could take the form of a minority company that is awarded a contract and then subcontracts the work to a nonminority firm.
Barry said that his staff is developing a list of contracts that will be "sheltered" for minorties only. These "sheltered" contracts will be set aside for only minority firms to bid on and increase the city's chances of meeting its 25 percent goal. But Barry said he hopes to phase out the sheltered program when minority businesses are strong enough to bid with nonminority companies. Barry also said that his staff is working on a survey of needs of businesses in the minority community.
The businessmen were assembled to question Barry about his economic goals at the meeting cosponsored by the Minority Business Opportunity Commission.