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New disparity studies could threaten minority and women-owned business enterprise programs that encourage contractors to hire disadvantaged subcontracting firms in North Texas. (Published Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015)

New disparity studies could threaten minority and women-owned business enterprise programs that encourage contractors to hire disadvantaged subcontracting firms in North Texas.

A 2011 study prepared for D/FW International Airport found that minority and women-owned professional service subcontractors were already getting more than their share of work. So, the airport shifted professional service subcontracts like engineering and architecture to a program that encourages small business participation, without regard to race or gender.

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Several other local governments also received results from the 2011 study.

A 1989 U.S. Supreme Court ruling said minority set aside programs must be supported by current evidence of disparity and not just past evidence of discrimination.

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Dallas County has never completed an availability and disparity study to support the MWBE (Minority and Women Businesses) program it has.

On Tuesday, county commissioners voted to continue the existing

MWBE program and extend the deadline to finish a disparity study in the works for the county and Parkland Memorial Hospital.

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"So, we’re doing that study now," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. "We’re also, with our new purchasing director, trying to capture actual data, not just take people’s words for it."

In the past, no records were kept on whether contractors followed through on promises to hire minority subcontractors.

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The city of Dallas last conducted an availability and disparity study in 2001. In an email response to questions Tuesday, Senior Dallas Public Information Officer Richard Hill said the city is currently considering the possibility of conducting a new one.

Jenkins said he doubts the Dallas County results would show support for minority and women-owned business is no longer justified.

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"It would be hard to see how that would be given the amount of contracts we award and who they are going to," he said.

Published at 6:46 PM CST on Dec 1, 2015

Source: www.nbcdfw.com
Category: Personal Finance

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