City Council President Mosby raises concerns about Board of Estimates' practices that perpetuate inequity
BALTIMORE, MD (Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021) – Baltimore City Council President Nick J. Mosby issued the following statement on today's Board of Estimates' 4-1 vote to extend a contract with Motorola Solutions Inc.:
"For four months, I have pushed the administration to reach for equity before waiving minority- and women-owned business participation on this lucrative, longstanding contract with Motorola to ensure ongoing telecommunication between our emergency responders was not disrupted. As city leaders, we have pledged to our residents time and time again that we will improve the patterns and practices of this spending board that hands out millions upon millions of dollars to government contractors every week.
"Still, despite these efforts – our ongoing conversations, promises of equity, pledges to reimagine the role government can play in closing the racial wealth gap in our city – we are here today, once again in the same position as we’ve been for decades. The administration’s actions resulted in this contract coming back to the Board of Estimates one day before it expired, risking this critical communications service that our first responders rely on unless we approved this item. I am deeply troubled that the administration and its control of three out of the five votes on this board has steered the process to force a deliberate action today.
"We must put actions behind our promises if we’re going to have a better city tomorrow than we have today. Extending this telecommunications contract today without forcing an industry that has consistently shut out minority- and women-owned businesses to change represents the status quo, business as usual at its worst. We had a chance to hold our city to a higher standard when it comes to improving diversity, equity and inclusion.
"My issue is not necessarily with this contract but with the operations of this board and perpetuating the systemic problems that have resulted in the inequities that hold our city back. This is our chance to take a reset. I am willing to do the work. Things have to drastically change.
"In a vote of 4-1, my vote being the only dissenting one, this item passed. I will not ever put the health and welfare of our residents in jeopardy, and seeing as how this is a critical service, the contract extension is granted without interruption. Going forward, I am calling on the administration to provide me an analysis of the division of work between the prime contractor and the minority- and women-owned subcontractors and steps the city is taking to expand opportunities to local businesses. We must never again wait until the last possible minute to bring contracts before this public body, and to be sure we do not, I am demanding that the administration change its practices.
"Baltimore, we must expect more."
Deputy Director of Communications
Office of City Council President Nick J. Mosby