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Luis Cartagena named Cuyahoga County’s Inclusion Officer

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Jeane’ Holley, (216) 698-2544; (216) 640-0821; or jholley@cuyahogacounty.us

Cleveland, Ohio – Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announces Luis Cartagena as Inclusion Officer. This role focuses on providing diversity outreach to vendors, potential vendors, stakeholders, and the community. Cartagena will also provide support internally and externally in regards to the county’s inclusion initiatives.

“As we continue to focus on one of our top priorities, Fairness and Equity, it is important that we have systems and processes in place that will allow everyone to have a fair shot at county purchasing and contracting,” said Budish. “I am confident that with Luis’ background and experience he will be able to create a fair inclusion process for all.”

In 2013, Cuyahoga County contracted with two firms to collect and analyze statistical and anecdotal data in order to determine whether or not disparity exists within the County procurement policies and systems. The County released the findings from the Study which revealed that there is disparity between the number of available Minority and Women Business Enterprises (MBE/WBEs) and the number of those firms that have been awarded contracts from the county.

While the results from the Disparity Study do not provide a legal basis for specific quotas, County Council passed the following legislation to council:
  • An expansion of the County’s current SBE program to set aspirational Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise subcontractor participation goals for every bid or proposal issued by the County; and requiring good faith efforts to meet said goals. MBE/WBEs bidding as prime contractors can also get participation credit.
  • Elimination of the need for performance bonds for qualified contractors for jobs under $250,000, and segmenting bigger projects into smaller projects.
  • The establishment of Small Business Set Asides for certain projects.
  • Allowing companies with a demonstrated commitment to utilizing MBE/WBEs as subcontractors and/or a diverse workforce within the past 2 years to receive a bid preference.
  • Adopting a Council Resolution authorizing the County Executive to sign on to the Cleveland Community Benefits Agreement.

“As an advocate for supplier diversity programs, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses, I am truly excited about the opportunity to help strengthen, grow, and build upon Cuyahoga County’s inclusion initiatives,” said Cartagena.

In his previous role as Strategic Planning Business Advisor with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center – Cleveland, Cartagena assisted minority-owned business enterprises create and retain jobs, as well as secure capital and procurement opportunities.

Cartagena will be part of the Department of Public Works.