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Bridgeport, CT – Today, Mayor Ganim announced that his administration, led by the Small and Minority Business Enterprise (SMBE) Office, will commence the search process for a firm to conduct a study regarding disparities in City procurement and contracting. The existing disparity study utilized by the City was finalized in August of 2005. The disparity study provides an assessment of the disparities that exist in city procurement that impact underrepresented populations. The data provided by the study serves as a basis for the City’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) procurement goals, and African-American business set asides. 

In 2018, Mayor Ganim’s Administration, in collaboration with the Minority Business Administration, proposed changes adopted by the City Council to the City’s Minority Business Enterprise Ordinance which created new bid discounts for “City-Based Businesses” (CBBs) and MBEs/WBEs for formal bids for goods and services over $25,000. That ordinance amendment also created a new rule that mandated inclusion of city-based businesses in informal bids for goods and services below $25,000. The new disparity study will provide fresh data to support these existing remedial measures, as well as potentially provide evidence that further changes are necessary.

Mayor Ganim stated, “The Minority Business Enterprise Ordinance provides minority-owned, woman-owned, and city-based businesses important opportunities to participate in City contracting. After so many years since the last study, it is an administration priority to ensure that our current practices are working for local small and minority-owned businesses and that we strive for equity in our community.”

Fred Gee, Director of the Small & Minority Business Enterprise Office, stated, “I work with small businesses in our community on a daily basis that benefit from the opportunities that are created by our SMBE ordinance. We are engaging in this effort to ensure that my office and all city departments can help these firms build capacity and participate in the local economy.”

Council President Aidee Nieves stated, “It is important that we are constantly mindful of the racial disparities that may exist in our city and address them head on. I am pleased that the City is moving forward with this effort to collect data and metrics on the disparities that exist in city procurement. It is my hope that the City Council will be able to translate what we learn from the study into tangible action items.”

A panel of city officials and community stakeholders will assess proposals from firms that have expertise in conducting disparity studies. After a firm is selected, the City will work with the consultant to establish a timeline for the study, as well as provide data and other information needed to conduct the study. Upon the study’s completion, a report will be made publicly available, at which time the Mayor, Administration, and City Council may consider possible changes to current procurement procedures, practices, and ordinances.

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