Gray proposes reforms to abused preference program for D.C. businesses

WASHINGTON (AP) - District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray is proposing reforms to a program that gives preference in government contracting to businesses based in the district.

Gray says there have been "bad actors ... who have really taken advantage of this program," including manipulation of joint ventures to make it appear that contractors outside the district have legitimate local partners.

The mayor says the Department of Small and Local Business Development lacks the staff and the resources to ensure compliance. City officials say they have rarely if ever tried to revoke the certification of businesses in recent years.

But Gray says that when the program works, it has been invaluable to the growth of district-based businesses.

The Democratic mayor plans to introduce legislation before the end of the month.