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Source : Contractor News
January 6, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
In response to the findings of the City of St. Petersburg's Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) Disparity Study, the City's Procurement Department is solidifying efforts to ensure diversity and inclusion are ingrained in the City's procurement and supplier processes and culture moving forward.
The M/WBE Disparity Study was initiated in 2018 and is a 5-year review of the City of St. Petersburg's contracting processes, specifically awarding contracts to M/WBE. It ensures that all community members who desire to do business with the City have equitable opportunities. A disparity analysis can enhance the City's contracting process, increase the number of bids, and reduce procurement expenses.
The study confirmed a difference in the City's prime and subcontract awards over the study period (2014 to 2018).
According to the 260-page report, African Americans were the most underutilized by the City's Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program. 88% of the contracts in construction, professional services, and other products and services went to white men compared to 1.6% to black-owned enterprises.
"After nearly 31 years in operation, the SBE Program has been ineffective in achieving equitable participation for M/WBE prime contractors based on their availability in the City's market area," the research said.
Mason Tillman Associates, the firm conducting the study, recommended that the Florida city develop a race- and gender-sensitive program to address the discrepancy.
The following were included in the Procurement Department's presentation to the City Council's Committee of the Whole:
“Formalizing equitable business opportunities and policies demonstrates our intentional commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive culture,” stated Mayor Kenneth T. Welch.