Supplier Diversity

Print this page

Disparity Study

The M/WBE Disparity Study is an evaluation of the contracting practices of the City of St. Petersburg, particularly the award of contracts to Minority and Woman Business Enterprises.

The City is conducting the Study to ensure that the M/WBE program is narrowly tailored and in compliance with applicable federal regulations and relevant court rulings.

Three benefits to the City are to:

  • Identify best practices to improve the City’s contracting process
  • Increase the number of bidders on the City’s contracts
  • Lower the City’s procurement costs

Determining Disparity

The Study will determine if a statistical disparity exists in the award of the City’s contracts to ready, willing, and able market area Minority and Women Business Enterprises.

The City has contracted with Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd. to design and conduct an independent study to review the City’s efforts. The study examines whether there are differences between:

  1. The percentage of dollars that minority- and women-owned businesses received in contracts during a specific time period, and
  2. The percentage of dollars that those businesses would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform those contracts

The study also considers things like:

  • Conditions in the local marketplace for minorities, women, and M/WBEs
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs currently in place
  • Potential changes to existing M/WBE programs or the legal considerations around putting a W/MBE program in place
Disparity is calculated in the form of an index, in part by comparing the actual contracts awarded to M/WBEs and the availability of M/WBEs businesses to perform those contracts. The final study considers both quantitative and qualitative data inputs in determining disparity.


  • September 2018 - Award of bid to consultant
  • January 2019 - April 2021 - M/WBE Availability and Utilization Study Period
  • October 2021 - City Council formally accepts the Disparity Study findings
  • January 2022 - Mayor Ken Welch is sworn into office
  • March 2022 - New Director of Procurement and Supply Chain Management is named
  • May 2022 - Administration provides an update to City Council Committee of the Whole regarding next steps for implementation of the disparity study results

Study Findings