Tampa City Council members question reliability of new study on women and minority hires by Mitch E. Perry10/19/06
Several Tampa City Council members took issue today with the city paying $70,000 more dollars for a Disparity Study that was originally completed earlier this year.
The 18 month study- jointly commissioned by the City and the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, was conducted to determine how many minority and women owned businesses were getting a shot at contracts with the City.
The firm hired to conduct the study, Oakland, California based Mason Tillman, reported that the City had disparities in prime contractors, but not with sub contracts. But something happened after the report was scrutinized by the Cityâ€™s Contract Administration, as the departmentâ€™s director David Vaughn described today (roll tape#1 o.q.â€?firmsâ€?)
Mason Tillman says they never received the list from the Cityâ€™s Contract Administration, and is charging the city an additional $70,000 to rework their study. The original study cost $110,000.
This led to Councilman Sean Harrison to question City Attorney David Smith how significant the omission of 419 firms was (roll tape#2 o.q. â€œI do not know that answerâ€?)
Then Mayor Pam Iorioâ€™s Chief of Staff, Darrell Smith, tried to explain the omission, and why Mason Tillman needs to research how significant how major that problem is (roll tape#3 o.q.â€?this overall updateâ€?)
And Darrell Smith said that originally, Mason Tillman had wanted to handle the gathering of all of the raw data that would be required for their study, but the city said they could handle that part on their own, saving some money in the process (roll tape#4 o.q.â€? collected the dataâ€™)
Councilman Kevin White, who urged the city to conduct the study originally, said that was probably a mistake(roll tape#5 o.q.â€?another expenditureâ€?)
After the Council moved on to other business, the Mayorâ€™s Chief of Staff, Darrell Smith, came back to the Council to answer Councilman Harrisonâ€™s question, saying that the total number of businesses in the study was 1,584, and the 419 firms represent 26% of the total population. With that information, Harrison said he then had no issue with spending the extra $70,000 (roll tape#6 o.q.â€?and weâ€™ll move on from thereâ€?)
Mason Tillman is supposed to finished with their new research by December.