At its Dec. 10 meeting, the Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency board authorized negotiating an agreement with MGT of America to update the Disparity Study of the City of Tallahassee, Leon County Government and Blueprint Intergovernmental Agency.
The updated study is intended to strengthen the legal defensibility of the MWSBE Program, which aims to increase business and networking opportunities for minority, women and small business enterprises in Tallahassee and Leon County.
“To maintain a legally defensible race- or gender-based program, governments conduct disparity studies to determine whether factual predicate evidence of disparity exists in the relevant market,” staff reports.
The 2019 Disparity Study contract was awarded to MGT of America, a research and consulting firm. According to the meeting agenda item, the study found “evidence of disparity to support not only a continued race- and gender-conscious MWSBE Program but a single, consolidated MWSBE Program that serves all three entities.”
The Consolidated MWSBE Policy was built off of the findings of the 2019 Disparity Study.
For the updated study, the board approved the following deliverables:
- An updated Disparity Study analyzing FY 2018-2020 financial data;
- Analysis of purchasing card expenditures for all three jurisdictions;
- Benchmark Tallahassee against other comparable communities;
- Analyze available data and information to determine the feasibility of the creation of specific aspirational goals for black-owned businesses; and
- Conduct a staffing analysis on the MWSBE Division.
A main component of the updated study will be researching specific aspirational goals for contracting with black-owned businesses, an element that was not included in the 2019 study.
According to the agenda item, a race-based goal “must be supported by adequate data showing that the specific minority group is available and significantly underutilized in the local market” and “must be narrowly tailored to meet the local government’s interest in remedying past and present discrimination; must adequately explore alternate ethnic-neutral measures; and the goals must be reviewed and adjusted so as not to be continued indefinitely.”
The updated study is expected to strengthen the MWSBE Program’s goals and legal defensibility.