HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Otto Banks is the Director of Economic Development for the City of Harrisburg. Banks says the City has not had a program in place that helps women and minority businesses get contracting or subcontracting opportunities involving city related contracts. Banks says there was a program in during the Reed years, but he was told recently that it was unconstitutional. “There has not been any push or requirement on contractors to ensure that they either hire or subcontract with our local women and minority business community, ” said Banks, “We have do more to get them involved, because it will help lower crime and give a boost to the economy.”

Banks says it would take two or three years to put a program in place. It would require a disparity study to show the impact that not having an aggressive program in place. The program would also have its own certification process, to make sure businesses are legitimate. Banks says in the interim, the city could utilize a a provision in federal law that was created by the Department of Housing and Urban Development that would provide opportunities for women and minority companies and low income people. Banks says the city could apply it across the board.

Banks says he plans on approaching members of city council to gauge their interest level, before making a formal presentation.