Your recent story on affirmative action, "A hand up, but not a handout" (Social Issues, Mar. 27), cites information from a General Accounting Office report about contracts the Energy Dept. (DOE) awarded to small and minority businesses during a prior Administration. Current leadership at DOE has been a stalwart supporter of small and minority businesses, but we have not played favorites with 8(a) contracts, as suggested by the article.
In fact, we do exactly what you recommend: cultivate and nurture minority suppliers. Technical help and management advice DOE provides has increased 8(a) prime contractors from a meager 19 awards in '92 to 122 awards in '94.
Corlis S. Moody
Office of Economic Impact
Energy Dept. Washington