City of Alexandria completes MWBE disparity study

LA News - Published Aug 29, 2022

The City of Alexandria has released the results of a disparity study, begun in 2020, into the experiences of minority- and woman-owned businesses (MWBEs) in City contracting. The disparity study was conducted by means of examining city contract awards from 2015 through 2019 and additionally thorugh focus groups, interviews, surveys, and the like.

The study made a finding of significant disparity in MWBE utilization by the City. By the study's estimate, roughly 30 percent of Central Louisiana firms which are available for City contracting are MWBEs. The availability analysis conducted based in part on this finding showed an expectation that 19.65 percent of City contract dollars would go to MWBEs during the study period - however, only 6.10 percent actually went to such MWBEs during the study period.

The study further found that 88 percent of City contract dollars went to small firms, stating that a race- and gender-neutral business utilization program focusing on small business utilization would not be adequate to remedy disparities in MWBE utilization, and that race- and gender-conscious remedies were needed. Recommendations made by the study include starting a "Central Louisiana Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (CLDBE)" program, and then setting aspirational CLDBE participation goals, create targeted competition and preference point programs for small contracts for the benefit of CLDBEs, track and report of CLDBE utilization, and more.

"We conducted this survey to identify opportunities to diversify the pool of local businesses applying for city contracts and to ensure we have a level playing field when it comes to obtaining contracts for city projects," said Alexandria Mayor Jeff Hall in a statement.

Read the City's press release at https://www.cityofalexandriala.com/press-release/disparity-study-results-be-released-city-council-committee-meeting.

Read the summary of the meeting at which disparity study results were presented at https://keenindependent.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/KeenIndependentAlexandria_Aug2022meeting.pdf.

Read the full study at https://www.cityofalexandriala.com/sites/default/files/KeenIndependent_CityofAlexandriaDisparityStudy_FinalReport_08092022.pdf.