A recent disparity study conducted for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville (Metro Nashville) found significant under-utilization in prime contracting of businesses owned by African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and Caucasian women.
Less than 17 percent of the nearly three billion dollars' worth of Metro Nashville contracts surveyed by the study went to firms owned by minorities and women, while capacity of such firms exceeds this amount. Businesses owned by African-Americans, for example, received 5.54 percent of Metro Nashville construction contracts by dollar value, while 10.10 percent of the available construction firms in the area are owned by African-Americans. Additionally, disparities were found in areas such as loan access in the private credit market.
Meto Nashville has previously tried to remedy disparities in it's contracting practices, including through the recently launched Minority Business Advisory Council and a 2008 procurement nondiscrimination program - which is predominately race-neutral. The disparity study, though, offers additional recommendations. These include but are not limited to greater communications and project forecasting, more resources for contract compliance, specific MWBE subcontracting goals, and a bonding and insurance review.
"My administration is committed to ensuring all Nashvillians can equitably participate in our city's success and growth," said Nashville Mayor David Briley in a written statement. "To this end, we must focus on addressing long-standing systemic issues. Our procurement process should – and will – reflect this commitment."
The mayor added that he is ready to move forward on all recommendations made by the report and plans to present an action plan to the Metro Council in October.