News Flash

Frederick News

Posted on: March 23, 2021

Findings from Disparity Study to be Shared at Wednesday’s Workshop

City consultant, Griffin and Strong, will release the findings of its study of the City’s procurement practices tomorrow at the Mayor and Board of Aldermen workshop (3PM, March 24, 2021). The study, which began in February 2020, was initiated to enable the City in strengthening its policies as recommended by the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Review Panel.  

According to the 237-page report, The City of Frederick awarded a total of $91,192,290 in prime spending during the study period and $22,887,373 of this amount, (25.09%) of this amount was awarded to MWBE firms as prime contractors. Of these MWBE awards, 96.58% were to a single minority firm. The study reviewed data for purchases made in the areas of construction, construction-related professional services, professional services, other services, and goods between 2013-2018.  

Griffin and Strong will share six recommendations that include increasing staffing to support procurement resources, setting goals for minority and women business engagement, a small business reserve program, and supporting greater forecasting and data collection.  

“My administration has prioritized equity within city government operations since day one. Due to the economic impact of the pandemic, ensuring that small, minority and women-owned businesses have access to contracts is now even more critical. The results of this study confirm long-held concerns about disparities in municipal contracting,” shared Mayor Michael O’Connor. “With the study now complete, I look forward to enacting meaningful reform and policy changes that will bolster opportunities for underrepresented businesses in The City of Frederick. Thank you to all of the businesses who participated in the process to ensure we received honest and comprehensive feedback.” 

At the February 6, 2020 Mayor and Board of Aldermen Public Meeting, the Board of Aldermen approved an agreement with Griffin & Strong, P.C. in the not-to-exceed amount of $238,000. A Disparity Study determines whether a government entity has previously or is currently engaging in exclusionary practices in the solicitation and award of contracts to minority, and women‐owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises. A disparity study forms the factual basis required for race- or gender-based contracting programs based on policy review, utilization analysis, availability analysis, disparity analysis, private sector analysis, community engagement, and anecdotal evidence.  

“We are excited to share the results of the study and begin the process of revising City policies to be more inclusive of minority and women-owned businesses,” stated Katie Barkdoll, Director of Budget and Purchasing.” Our partnership with Griffin & Strong will continue as we develop new programs and outreach efforts. I’m very proud of the City team, who continued to make this study a priority during the past year when so many projects had to be paused.” 

Following the presentation of the report, the Mayor will be meeting with City staff to discuss actions in response to the findings in the report. Mayor O’Connor aims to introduce an action plan to the Board of Aldermen in late summer.  

To review the final report and information on the City’s disparity study process, visit frederickmd.gov/disparity.

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