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City of Savannah 2015 Disparity Study

The firm of Griffin & Strong, P.C. (“GSPC”) has been contracted by the City of Savannah (“City”) to conduct a comprehensive disparity study.  The disparity study’s objective is to determine if there is a disparity between the number of minority and women-owned businesses that are ready, willing and able” to perform construction, professional services, and goods and services contracts and the numbers of these businesses that are actually participating in contracts with the City of Savannah.

EVENTS

⊲ Informational Meeting

  • Monday, June 1, 2015
    5:30pm-7:30pm
    Savannah Entrepreneurial Center
    801 E Gwinnett St, Savannah, GA 31401

⊲ Public Hearings

  • Dates and Times TBA

⊲ Focus Groups

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a disparity study?

The disparity study determines the number of minority and women owned firms that are available for contracting opportunities in comparison to the dollars spent by the City of Savannah with such minority and women owned firms during the study period. If the percentage of participation is less than what is expected based on availability, then a “disparity” exists. The study also determines whether the likely cause of the disparity is the race or gender status of the firm such that an inference of discrimination can be made.

What is the study process?

The disparity study process is broken out into several major parts, including statistical and econometric analysis of public and private contracting, legal and purchasing practices analysis, anecdotal evidence analysis, and findings and recommendations. The data collection portion of the study is currently underway and GSPC will be utilizing the City’s award and payment data to determine the utilization of firms in the marketplace. It will compare the utilization percentages to the percentages of available firms in the marketplace. Availability will be determined by combining the City’s own lists with those of other governmental lists within the relevant market area in an attempt to identify as many firms as possible that are qualified to do work with the City as prime or subcontractors. The comparison of utilization and availability percentages will determine whether there is a disparity. GSPC’s Senior Economist will determine, through regression analyses and an analysis of the private sector, whether identified disparities can be attributed to the race and/or gender of firm owners.

The legal analysis portion of the study consists of reviewing the relevant case law regarding disparity studies and program implementation. For purchasing practices analysis, the study team is conducting purchasing policies and practices interviews with City procurement staff regarding the City’s procurement process.

Griffin & Strong, P.C. (GSPC), the prime consultant for this disparity study, will soon begin analyzing and collecting anecdotal evidence for the disparity study. This is crucial to any recommendations GSPC may make to the City as a result of its findings from the study. GSPC’s anecdotal evidence includes:

  • Telephone surveys of business owners across each work category selected from a random stratified sample of the available firms in the relevant market.
  • In-depth anecdotal interviews with businesses in the relevant market that are, selected randomly from a list of available vendors.
  • An informational meeting, public hearing, and focus group (locations and times TBA)

Finally, GSPC will compile a final report and, taking into account all of the findings from the research above, will provide recommendations to the City of Savannah regarding their M/WBE program and procurement processes.

Who is Griffin & Strong, P.C.?

GSPC is a law and public policy consulting firm based in Atlanta, GA, with extensive experience in disparity research and program development.

Why should I participate?

It is GSPC’s goal to have gathered as much anecdotal evidence as possible from all firms currently in business or desiring to do business with the City. Your participation would provide further insight into the City’s practices and may serve to shed new light on an area for improvement or to substantiate those recounted by others. It is only with your assistance that we will be able to provide the City with substantive recommendations that can make a real impact on their policies, moving forward.

How can I participate?

⊲ State Your Experiences as Public Record
GSPC will be conducting an informational meeting, public hearing, and focus group in Savannah. We invite all that are interested to attend and share their experiences. We will also be posting information about the study and all related events on this website and on our Twitter page, @GriffinStrong.

⊲ Tell Us Your Story at Your Convenience
GSPC welcomes comments and questions regarding the study. We may be contacted at SavannahStudy@gspclaw.com. For those unable to participate in hearings and focus groups who would like to share their experiences doing business in Savannah with the study team, we are receiving e-mail comments for inclusion in our anecdotal analysis until September 28th 2015.

When can I read the study?

The projected submission date for the entire study is Winter 2015. The study results will not be published and made publicly available until they are approved by the City of Savannah, after which point the study may be available for review.

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