(Miami-Dade County, FL) -- Since requesting a report more than five months ago from the Mayor and his administration, Vice Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson and the Board of County Commissioners finally received a memorandum confirming the need of a formal disparity study of Black, Hispanic and Women-Owned Business participation in County Contracting.
In 2005, after a pre-disparity study was conducted with findings that data collected from the County departments fell short of being able to conduct a full disparity study, the Board of County Commissioners adopted policies and implemented operational enhancements to address many of the data limitations. Last year, several pieces of legislation were passed to require collection and tracking of subcontractor information including demographic data.
Vice Chairwoman Edmonson stated, “The small business community has greatly suffered, not due to the lack of opportunity but the ineffectiveness of the County to collect critical data that could help determine where, if any, there were disparities. I have often said that you can drive around this County and see who is working. As public officials, it is imperative that we provide opportunities to all businesses of Miami-Dade County.”
During discussions with her colleagues, Vice Chairwoman Edmonson often referenced the state of the economy and the unemployment numbers in Miami-Dade County. She stressed that when the County expends tax payer dollars on goods and services, we should ensure we are increasing and retaining the number of businesses participating in county contracting.
She is now preparing legislation directing the Administration to move ahead in securing a firm to conduct a full disparity study using data collected in a centralized and consistent manner. The study will be conducted in key departments with contracts in a cross section of trade areas.
In addition, she is preparing similar legislation directing the Administration to assign a department with a centralized database that has, or can economically add, the fields necessary to house this information. The chosen department could also be assigned the responsibility for maintaining this data. Currently, the Miami-Dade Sustainability, Planning and Economic Enhancement Department’s (SPEED) Oracle houses the capacity to accommodate the data.