New South Bend Diversity Officer responds to underrepresentation in business

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The newest member of South Bend Mayor James Mueller's staff spoke with ABC 57 News Friday.
Pastor Michael Patton joined the city as its second-ever Diversity and Inclusion Officer Tuesday.

The title was created by former Mayor Pete Buttigieg during his tenure.

Patton still preaches at Kingdom Life Christian Cathedral in South Bend, and serves as president of the local chapter of the NAACP.

One glaring stat entering this role is a report stating that last year South Bend only awarded 12 percent of its city contracts to minority or women-owned businesses.

He said despite this, he still believes South Bend is in touch with those populations.

“Because meeting with people at a leadership level, meeting with people at a grassroots level is so important,” Patton said. “

And taking what people have shared with me and shared with our city as well, and (we're) implementing those solutions that make things better for all.” 

Patton said his short term goal is to bump up city contracts to 15 percent minority or women-owned businesses in 2020.

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