Hayward wants disparity study

June 11, 2011

Press Release: Under a proposal announced today, Mayor Ashton Hayward is calling for a full-scale study of the City’s purchasing and contracting practices relating to minority-owned businesses in the area.

Mayor Ashton Hayward said he was fulfilling a campaign promise and doing what was right for the entire community.

“I’m proud to sponsor this initiative so we as a community can get some real data on where our tax dollars are being spent, and to develop some solutions to make sure that all of our vendors and contractors have an opportunity to build their business and expand their ability to create jobs,” said Hayward.

“I’d like to thank my West Side team of advisors, especially Pastor LuTimothy May, for his tireless advocacy of this issue,” Hayward continued. “Pastor May has been a champion for the issue of inclusion in our community, and I’m proud to have him as a part of my team that’s moving our City forward – for all of us.”

Known as a disparity study, the project will review the past purchasing and contracting history of the City, evaluate past minority business inclusion efforts, and assess local and regional business demographics. Based on these results, the study will recommend a set of legally defensible purchasing and procurement reforms to remedy any disparities for minority business inclusion.

In 2007, the City of Pensacola engaged in a “pre-disparity study” which found that the participation of minority businesses, especially African-American-owned businesses, in city contracts was lower than expected. That study, and the citizen panel that reviewed it, recommended some minor contracting reforms to give minority businesses more access to City contracts. The citizen panel also recommended the City undertake a full disparity study. The full disparity study will allow the City to take more aggressive action to assist minority businesses in getting City contracts.

Hayward said this was an important step toward improving the local economy and creating jobs for residents in the area.

“I view this as a prime example of how we can improve our local economy, by helping our local businesses win contracts and by ensuring that we as a City and a community are creating a playing field that gives everyone a chance to succeed,” said Hayward.

“The reality is that the more jobs we can help small businesses create, that puts more money in people’s pockets and more money gets turned around in our local economy. So while this initiative is geared towards helping minority businesses, those business owners and their employees spend their money with other businesses across the community, so we all benefit,” said Hayward.

The City Council is expected to take up the issue of the Disparity Study at the next Committee of the Whole Meeting, on Monday, June 20, at 3:30pm at City Hall’s 2nd Floor Hagler-Mason Conference Room.

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