City of Frederick Proposes $200,000+ for 2020 Disparity Study

The contract must be approved by the Board of Aldermen

Frederick, MD – An outside research company will be conducting a proposed study within the City of Frederick this year to determine if there is a disparity between the percentage of available, qualified minority businesses within Frederick and the percentage of dollars spent on those services by the city.

The study would occur over the course of about a year and would be conducted by public policy consultant firm Griffin and Strong which is based in Atlanta.

“I think it’s important to not look at an effort to explore whether there’s disparity in our purchasing policies so much as to ensure that we want what we do as a city to be done in an equitable and a fair manner for everyone,” Mayor Michael O’Connor said.

Mayor O’Connor was a recent guest on the morning News Express with Bob Miller and said bringing in outside consultants are sometimes necessary when the local staff do not have the time or resources to perform the study themselves.

The disparity study was recommended for the city last year by the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program review panel, which reported that 12 percent of contract dollars in the city went to female-owned and ethnic minority-owned companies in fiscal 2017.

The city would budget $100,000 for the proposed study in fiscal 2020 and will request an additional $138,000 in the fiscal 2021 budget for the remainder of the contract amount.

“It’s a big dive in data that isn’t just related to what the city of Frederick is doing,” O’Connor said. “To determine whether or not a disparity exists in the way in which the city does procurement, it’s necessary for this consultant to look at the business makeup in this community.”

The contract with Griffin and Strong must be approved by the Board of Aldermen which will likely hold a public hearing on the matter sometime in February.

By Timothy Young