Minority Contractors Speak Out Over City Program Changes

The City of Tulsa has eliminated a program called Bridges designed to guarantee some city contract work to minority and female-owned businesses.

"I'm not asking for any special consideration. All I am asking for is a small slice of the pie," said David Collins, owner of Fenix Construction Group.

Collins says the elimination of program has hurt his company, which built the Shoppes on Peoria.

Now his company is working on a renovation project at 4th and Elgin.

"The people that work for me went from 27 people this time last year, to seven people working today," said Collins.

Dwain Midget of the city of Tulsa says a recent Supreme Court decision and Oklahoma's own constitutional change means the city can no longer include race or gender involved in contract considerations.

He says the city will find another way to guarantee work for small businesses.

"It helps with employment and business development. If people are unemployed, it doesn't help our tax base. It doesn't help our tax base, so we want to make sure we try and keep people employed," said Midget.

Collins says he is doing his part.

"The guys that work for me are able to come back to their community and spend the money in their community, come to the Shoppes on Peoria that we built ourselves, and go to Little Caesars and go to Tropical Smoothie," said Collins.

The city council may have to approve any changes and possibly vote on new ordinances.