Tampa Diversity Study Flawed?by Mitch E. Perry

09/21/06

Back in May, the city of Tampa was accused of falling short when it came to hiring women and minority business owners for awarding major contracts. But the Tampa City Council learned today that the study itself may have been flawed.

That news came via the City’s Purchasing Director, Greg Spearman. Spearman was presenting a power point presentation to the Council on what the City has been doing since the study was presented to them last May. The study was produced by the Oakland based group Mason Tillman Associates. They studied contracts awarded by the City between October of 2001 and September of 2004, looking both at the Dick Greco and Pam Iorio administrations..

But at the end of his presentation, Spearman slipped in a comment that the city was still obtaining clarification of the data analysis.

When questioned by Councilmember Kevin White what he meant by that, Spearman said that 119 suppliers were not initially included in the study.(roll tape#1 o.q.�analysis�0

White then confirmed with Spearman that the original study said the city’s real problem was with the hiring of subcontractors, not prime contractors…But because of this faulty data, (roll tape#2 o.q.�that original data�)

Councilman White then initially asked that the City staff come back with a draft ordinance in 2 weeks on how the city goes forward in getting more women and minority businesses offered city contracts.

City Attorney David Smith said the city will go back to Mason Tillman to make sure the analysis is correct (roll tape#3 o.q.�craft the ordinance�)

Councilman John Dingfelder suggested that the city offer up 2 major projects that will be in the tens of millions of dollars in the future, one being the Dale Mabry /Neptune Stormwater pipeline. (roll tape#4 o.q.�MBE�)

Joe Robinson is a local activist and businessman. He was incensed to learn that 119 firms were not accounted for in the study. (roll tape#5 o.q.�in prime contracting�)

And Robinson, who has announced that he will for the City Council next year, said he’s weary of the Council and staff dealing with the issue (roll tape#6 o.q.�tired of the rhetoric�)

The City Council then voted on a motion sponsored by Kevin White, that the Administration continue to come back before the Council in 2 week increments to give an update on when the correct information will be put back into the analysis, and how the city is coming with producing an ordinance dealing with improving the hiring of women and minority contractors.

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