Pensacola City Council Adopts MGT Disparity Study Showing Minority Business Underutilization
The Pensacola City Council approved the MGT of America, Inc.’s City Government Procurement Disparity Study on Tuesday, August 6th at their Committee of the Whole meeting by a unanimous vote. The second floor conference room was packed with interested citizens and business owners.
The yearlong $250,000 analysis of the Purchasing Department’s policies, procedures, and programs used to purchase goods and services showed substantial underutilization of African American firms as construction subcontractors during 2007, 2009, and 2011. African American prime contractors were substantially underutilized in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011.
The study covered the period from 2005-2011 and uncovered substantial underutilization of African American professional service firms for each year of the study period. The study also reviewed disparities for Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and non-minority women.
Pensacola city council members John Jerralds and Ron Townsend led the questioning of MGT, digging deeper into the details of the findings to show a need for the Pensacola City Council to adopt the study for implementation.
Jerralds made the point that the city is not the only governmental body with minority purchasing issues, stating that, “We did approach the other agencies and ask for their participation in the study so we could share the costs, and they were not interested.”
Councilman Townsend questioned the dismal minority participation numbers in the private sector and asked for clarification if the City of Pensacola could play a role in influencing utilization by some means.
The MGT team answered in the affirmative; the MGT study, itself, states, “To the extent that M/WBE subcontractor utilization is all but absent in the private sector credence may be given to the proposition established in Croson that government could be a passive participant in private sector discrimination if it did not require contractors who apply for public sector construction projects to solicit and negotiate with M/WBE subcontractors in good faith.
Mayor Hayward proposed the contracting with MGT for the comprehensive Disparity Study after he took office and has stated that he is interested in hiring a Diversity Officer in his next budget. City Administrator Bill Reynolds was present in the City Council meeting and stated that staff have already begun their review of the study and will be proposing policy and procedural changes to address the issues identified.
Before Council President Sam Hall asked for a vote he allowed four speakers to share their feeling concerning the plans adoption. All speakers urged the council to adopt the study, which they did unanimously. Local subcontractors played a role in the Disparity Study were Tony McCray of McCray & Associates, George Hawthorne of Diversity Advisors, and Audra Carter of A C Advertising.