The City of Wilmington commissioned Miller3 Consulting, Inc. to conduct the first-ever Disparity Study for the City. The Study analyzed the fairness, accessibility, and inclusion of the City's procurements services and professional, non-professional, and construction services. Mayor Mike Purzycki and Wilmington City Council requested the report. In recent years, both arms of the City government expressed concern that the procurement process was not allowing a broader diversity of firms, particularly minority and women-owned enterprises, to bid on City-issued proposals for goods and services.
The Study's central finding, depending on the ten analysis categories, found that for professional and non-professional services, a pronounced disparity impacted African American-owned firms, Hispanic American-owned firms, and Women Business Enterprises.
After the Study's conclusion, the administration has undertaken the following steps based on the recommendations.
- A working group with representation from each department is overhauling City procurement policy and procedures and will continue to find potential to develop MBE opportunities in the future.
- It has been recommended to address the decentralized nature of the City’s procurement process and its effect on DBE participation. The City is evaluating procurement workflow technologies and DBE support services to better manage, report, and communicate opportunities to companies. These modifications will make DBE participation active with a supplier diversity committee.
- The working group seeks community partners for DBE Support Services to boost economic development. It includes DBE Certification, Bonding Support, Bid Writing Assistance, etc.
- Offer procurement and DBE training and development to all City staff who impact the "buy-decision" and DBE inclusion.
- All MBE enterprises in the City's MSA will be identified. Outreach will be conducted to encourage vendor registration in the City's vendor database and for DBE certification.
- The City is trying to remove past barriers to MBEs bidding competitively by adopting bond support services and establishing a DBE fund at WEDCO to offer gap funding for MBEs. They also want to collaborate with partners who provide bid support services such as bid preparation and proposal assistance.
- The City will analyze the list of Capital Projects to identify the potential for unbundling based on the seven stages of development.
For further information, read here.