NASHVILLE (WSMV) - Nashville Mayor David Briley announced some major policy changes meant to address race and gender disparities in the city's contract process.
The changes stem from legislation that was filed by Councilmembers Tanaka Vercher, Sharon Hurt and Scott Davis.
The city commissioned a disparity study in 2017, which was conducted by Griffin and Strong. The findings were presented to Metro Council on Sept. 17.
According to the mayor's office, the results showed "a lack of meaningful minority and women-owned business enterprise inclusion efforts."
"Without exception, all potential contractors deserve equal access to Metro projects, regardless of race or gender," said Briley in a news release. "Unfortunately, this study – the first since 2005 – found that the playing field has not been equitable over time. These measures will seek to change that. For our city to continue to thrive, everyone needs to be at the table."
Some of the recommended changes from the study are being implemented, including the following:
- Adding race- and gender-conscious inclusion tools in place of the existing race- and gender-neutral tools in Metro’s Procurement Non-discrimination Program. To reflect this change and others, the program will be renamed the Equal Business Opportunity Program (EBO).
- Adding annual goals – express race and gender targets for the EBO – which are based on the availability statistics identified in the Disparity Study.
- Establishing a Small Business Reserve Program. Through procurement regulation changes, Nashville will implement a race- and gender-neutral program that establishes a contract threshold, under which certain contracts become eligible for designation to only be bid on by small business in accordance with SBA guidelines. The program will also provide more time for prime contractors and subcontractors to plan for and prepare timely bids. This is to increase the ability for firms to form joint ventures or teaming arrangements and to obtain any needed support services.
- Metro is developing an enhanced communications plan for how it will better assist the W/MBE Business community in understanding its programs, implementations and how to prepare for future procurement opportunities.