Concerned after finding few African-American contractors in state records of work on the $400 million Phoenix prison project, the early stages of the $1 billion Rapid Bridge Replacement campaign, and other big Pennsylvania state jobs, a veteran minority-business advocate has sent Gov. Tom Wolf's Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities a series of steps he says would simplify and put teeth into what has become a complex and sometimes ineffective system of preferences. (Updated with state response)

As a member of the council's Inclusion and Certification subcommittee, Hanford Jones says he's reviewed hundreds of pages of state contract documents, and found black-own firms are too often under-represented -- or are improperly counted as "minority" firms despite inadeqate documentation that they qualify for preferences and are professionally able to do the job.