Reginald Smith, a Partner of MGT of America, provided an update on the $250,000 City of Pensacola Disparity Study of minority business procurement practices at a workshop on Monday January 9th requested by City Councilman John Jerralds. This was the second presentation by Mr. Smith since the company, based in Tallahassee, was approved to conduct the study. The purpose of the City of Pensacola Disparity Study is to determine whether or not the underutilization of minorities and women exists in the city’s purchasing practices.
The presentation was made at the Pensacola City Council Committee of the Whole meeting. Smith utilized a power point presentation to provide the framework for the update. Ms. Hope Smith, an MGT Senior Consultant, who accompanied Mr. Smith, reported that the process of data collection has begun on city invoices and files from the past 5 years. The month of February has been targeted for a town hall meeting, focus groups, and minority business interviews to gather the anecdotal data that will help to determine the level of disparate treatment.
Councilman Jerralds took the opportunity to stress the need for city officials and interested community stakeholders must be prepared to implement the recommendations generated by MGT. In previous interviews with the Pensacola Voice, Smith has emphasized that a fact based approach must be developed in order to establish the legal validity for the establishment of a minority and woman-owned business program. He also stated that the requirement of “qualified firms ready, willing and able to contract with a governmental entity” is a strategic factor in the determination of the goals that will be set by the Pensacola Mayor and City Council. The Supreme Court has ruled that disparity studies are generally the fact-based approach that is needed to establish minority and women business programs.
The Pensacola Voice will continue to follow the entire process of the study to make sure that our community understands and participates in the design, development, implementation, and monitoring of the resulting minority business program.