Nutter names interim head of minority-participation office

A current city Commerce Department official, Curtis Gregory, will temporarily lead the Office of Economic Opportunity, Mayor Nutter said today.

Gregory will succeed Michael Bell, who was fired two weeks ago after an eight-month stint trying to revamp the office and boost minority-participation in city contracts.

Bell was fired after administration officials questioned his job competence.

Gregory is currently the director of business services, a separate Commerce Department unit.

In a meeting with the Inquirer's editorial board, Nutter said the office - which replaced the Minority Business Enterprise Council - would focus on reaching out to minority businesses to make them aware of city contracting opportunities, and also to work more closely with other city departments in hiring minority firms.

At the same time, the office will in time stop the process of certifying businesses as owned by minorities, women or otherwise traditionally disadvantaged groups. Instead, the city will draw that information from other government agencies, such as SEPTA and PennDOT. "It seems at a certain level somewhat tortuous" to put people through the same process," Nutter said.

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