ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a law that has been on the books for years, meant to improve diversity in the City of Albuquerque.
But an investigation shows the city hasn’t been following the law.
The ordinance states the City of Albuquerque should make sure a fair share of businesses owned by minorities and women get the chance to bid for city projects.
That means reaching out to those businesses and then providing proof with quarterly reports.
“They’re an important part of our economy and they represent a great portion of our economy,” said Gilbert Montaño, Mayor Richard J. Berry’s Chief of Staff. “From day one, the Mayor and the administration has made that a priority.”
An investigation by the City’s Office of Internal Audit shows no reports exist for at least the past 15 years. It also shows no one at the city was checking to make sure it was being followed.
“There are so many laws on the books,” said Montaño. “We don’t have someone scouring every single one.”
This administration admits it wasn’t ignoring the law on purpose.
“However, the perspective and the goals have always been abided by, by this administration,” said Montaño.
Montaño points to the Pay Equity legislation it proposed. The goal, to give companies willing to narrow the gap between gender salaries by at least 10 percent, preference when applying for a city contract.
“The fact that these quarterly reports weren’t provided in the form and fashion as it was spoken about in this ordinance, does not mean that the work wasn’t important and wasn’t done,” said Montaño.
But the city says it will start following the law exactly as it’s written immediately.
“We’ll abide by it, and we should abide by it, and for 15 years it should’ve been abided by,” said Montaño.
The Office of Internal Audit says this was one of the most straight forward investigations they’ve done because there was no paperwork to go over, since none existed going back at least 15 years.