On September 27, three days after being fired, Gregory Bell sent a memo to his superiors, detailing problems in the compliance office.
Until recently, one of the compliance office's tasks was to make sure that city contractors adhered to the city's Women and Minority Business Enterprise program (WMBE), a set-aside program which established guidelines for women and minority contracts. I-200 recently phased out the WMBE section of the contract compliance office.
Bell's 14-page memo, obtained by The Stranger, alleges that city officials never took their WMBE program seriously. Bell's assertions include the following:
· The city conspired for more than a year to prevent the media from obtaining a copy of the city's disparity study, which highlights how poorly women and minorities have been represented in city contracts.
· More than 600 consulting contracts were not allowed to be reviewed by Bell's office for WMBE participation.
· The compliance office was frequently cut out of the loop. For example, the Office of Public Works once tried to determine its own percentages for women and minority participation, ignoring compliance office guidelines.
· The Office of Public Works once sent 190 contract revisions to the compliance office, four months late. Since the revisions arrived late, Bell could not review them for possible WMBE violations.
Bell also accuses the city of refusing to take discrimination complaints against Boeing, intimating that the city kowtows to that corporation.
Bell's former supervisor, Rob Brandon, says he will review some of the problems Bell raises, but adds that Bell himself was originally charged with fixing some of the very problems addressed in the memo. Brandon cites poor performance reviews as the reason for Bell's firing.