The City of Asheville’s Community and Economic Development Department has commissioned Miller³ Consulting, Inc. (M³ Consulting) to conduct a five year comprehensive Disparity Study of its contractual awards in goods, professional and general services, and construction. The objective is to determine the effectiveness of the City’s current Business Inclusion (formerly Minority and Women Business Enterprise) program and recommend modifications and adjustments, if necessary, to the City’s Business Inclusion program that are in compliance with the law.
Disparity Studies are the primary means by which municipalities determine whether there is legal justification for the establishment, continuation or modification of programs designed to promote the full and fair participation of minority and women business enterprises (M/WBE) in government contracting.
The City of Asheville Disparity Study period is from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a disparity study?
A Disparity Study determines whether a government entity, either in the past or currently, engages in exclusionary practices in the solicitation and award of contracts to minority, women‐owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs).
What is the purpose of a disparity study?
The study is necessitated in part by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson. The court decision imposed legal requirements on jurisdictions to establish a “compelling interest” to support the establishment of a minority and women business program. The results of this study will determine if a compelling interest exists for the City to have a M/WBE program.
Why is the City of Asheville conducting a disparity study?
The City is conducting a disparity study to aid the City in evaluating and improving its current programs and to undertake all necessary and affirmative steps to ensure that Diverse Business Enterprises are afforded opportunities to participate in City procurements.
When will the disparity study be completed?
What types of contracts are being reviewed?
The study will focus on M/WBE’s in the procurement categories of goods, professional and general services, and construction from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2022.
Will the results of the disparity study be made public?
Yes, the results of the disparity study will be made public at the end of the process.
October 2022 – Project kick off, study begins.
Spring 2023 – Engagement with community begins to include interviews, focus groups and public meetings.
September 19, 2023 – Disparity Study Public Engagement Hearing
October 24, 2023 – City Council Presentation and Vote. Asheville City Council heard a presentation from Miller3 Consulting about the Disparity Study for the City of Asheville and voted to adopt a resolution to accept the report of Miller3’s disparity study and extend the race- and gender-conscious measures of the Asheville-Business Inclusion Policy, which were set to expire on November 1, 2023, for an additional five-year period.
October 2023 – Study complete.
The City will provide access to relevant disparity study notes, presentations, and reports below. Please check back periodically for updated documents throughout the course of the study.
Division Manager, Economic Development
City of Asheville Community & Economic Development Dept.