City of Philadelphia contractors now have yet another requirement to contend with before they can be awarded a City contract. This time, contractors must disclose the gender makeup of their boards and executive staff.
On September 6, 2013, Philadelphia Mayor Nutter signed Bill No. 13045701 which amends section 17-104 of the Philadelphia Code and which mandates that prospective contractors for the City disclose the current percentage of female executive officers in the company and the current percentage of females on the company’s executive and full boards; the company’s aspirational goals for the inclusion of females in executive positions and on the executive and full boards; and the intended efforts by the contractor to achieve the aspirational goals.
Bill No. 13045701 can be found here.
The bill was sponsored by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown who issued a press release touting the bill. According to the press release, the bill was a recommendation from a 2013 report produced and sponsored by Councilwoman Reynolds Brown and reported out of the City Council Committee on Commerce and Economic Development. In the press release, Councilwoman Reynolds Brown is quoted as follows:
“We cannot manage what we cannot measure. This bill will offer us the transparency needed to determine if a contractor values diversity in the workplace and in leadership positions. It requires prospective contractors to put the gender of their leadership in writing, which tells them up front that gender diversity matters. We want to encourage companies to increase the number of women seated at those tables where major decisions are made, because we know that if women are not at the table, issues that are important to us end up on the menu.”
For what it’s worth, the purpose of this new contractor requirement escapes me. What if a City contractor has no women on its board or on its executive staff? How does the City intend to use this information? For example, the City cannot, in a constitutional manner, mandate that only contractors that have women on their staffs or boards be eligible for City contracts or receive preferential treatment in the award of City contracts. This new requirement is just one more burden added to already burdened City contractors.