City fires head of new minority agency

City fires head of new minority agency

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The City of Philadelphia last week fired the head of the newly revamped agency in charge of ensuring minority representation in city contracts.

Michael Bell was let go July 1 as the executive director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, a position he held for nine months.

Doug Oliver, spokesperson for Mayor Michael Nutter, said Bell, who was employed by the city in various positions for 17 years, was terminated because the office did not produce enough tangible results under his leadership.

“While we do appreciate all of his years of service to the city, there wasn’t as much progress made in his portfolio as we would have liked to have seen,” Oliver said. “Given the importance of increasing minority business and ensuring economic opportunity is available to all, we felt this was a good time to make this change.”

Oliver said Bell’s replacement has not yet been named.

Nutter created the OEO in October after dissolving the Minority Business Enterprise Council, which had a similar mission but was long plagued by complaints of ineffectiveness. When announcing the new agency, Nutter said he expected Bell to compile a strategic plan for the office by the end of January, which he did not do.

The office was situated within the city’s commerce department, which itself experienced other employment changes last week that Oliver noted were not related to Bell’s termination.

Commerce director Andrew Altman resigned to take on a position in London in preparation for the 2012 Olympics, and Nutter named Alan Greenberger, former executive director of the Philadelphia Planning Commission, as his temporary replacement. Last week Nutter also named deputy director of commerce Kevin Dow, to whom Bell reported, as the chief operating officer of the department, a new position.

Oliver noted that Dow will continue to oversee the efforts of the OEO.

“With Kevin now being elevated as COO for commerce, he still has in his portfolio the Office of Economic Opportunity and will be providing leadership until permanent appointments can be made for the positions in the department. Certainly the Office of Economic Opportunity continues to hold significant priority to the administration.”

Prior to his appointment as director of OEO, Bell served as the compliance director for the Office of Housing and Community Development.

Jen Colletta can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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