Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Disparity Study?

Disparity studies are a means of providing a factual basis for determining whether there are equal opportunities for all firms in the procurement process and support the need, if any, for race or gender conscious, remedial procurement programs. The Study will engage in a review of the Charles County Government procurement process and conduct an availability and utilization analysis of contract participation by all vendors, including minority- and woman -owned business enterprises to determine whether race or gender has been a barrier in equal access to public contracts.

This Study will cover City spending from FY2015 through FY2019. If the actual utilization of firms is less than what is expected based on firms that are ready, willing, and able to perform on the Charles County contracts (“Availability”), then a “disparity” exists. The Study will also determine whether the disparity is statistically significant enough to suggest whether any action should be taken and whether factors other than race or gender are likely to have caused the disparity.

What is the Study Process?

A disparity study process is broken out into several major parts, including statistical and econometric analysis, legal and purchasing practices analysis, private sector analysis, anecdotal evidence analysis, and findings and recommendations. GSPC is currently collecting data from Charles County that will be necessary to determine utilization of firms in the marketplace. Principal Investigator, Dr. Vince Eagan and Legal Analyst, David Maher, Esq., will conduct policy review and interviews to understand the internal procurement processes and procedures. Our Data Analyst, Omar Baig will then analyze the data to determine the Charles County Government’s availability and utilization of the study groups. Senior Economist, Dr. Gregory N. Price, will then work with available data to determine, through econometric analyses and an analysis of the private sector, whether identified disparities can be attributed to the race and/or gender status of firm owners.

Anecdotal evidence is also crucial to any recommendations we may make to Charles County. Our anecdotal evidence includes the following:

  • Survey of business owners across all work categories.
  • Firms throughout Charles County will be contacted inviting them to complete the survey.
  • In-depth anecdotal interviews with businesses in the area, selected randomly from a list of available vendors.
  • Focus groups of randomly selected business owners to share their experiences in doing business in Charles County and with Charles County.
  • Email comments, Informational meetings and public hearings which will all be open to the public.

Check the website ‘Events’ tab for times and locations of scheduled events.

Other relevant study processes include an analysis of local and federal legal environment as well as an analysis of purchasing practices to better understand the procurement process. The Study team will conduct interviews with the Charles County procurement staff regarding their current procurement process and policies to review whether any barriers to participation exist.

Finally, GSPC will compile a final report containing all the findings from the research above and will provide recommendations to Charles County regarding the inclusion of minority and women-owned firms in its procurement process.

Who is Griffin & Strong P.C.?

GSPC is a law and public policy consulting firm based in Atlanta, GA, with extensive experience in disparity research, program development and supplier diversity consulting. For more information, you can click on the Who We Are” tab or visit us at gspclaw.com

Why should I participate?

It is GSPC’s goal to gather the most representative anecdotal evidence as possible from all firms doing business or interested in doing business with Charles County. We desire to understand both the practical challenges and barriers, as well as the positive experiences faced by businesses within the marketplace. Your participation will provide further insight into current practices and may shed new light on an area for improvement. It is only with your assistance that we will be able to provide Charles County with substantive recommendations that can make a real impact on their policies and your experiences, moving forward.

How do I participate?

GSPC will be conducting informational meetings and public hearings that are open to the public as well as several focus groups by invitation. We invite business owners and other community members to attend and share their experiences. We will also be posting information about the Study and all related events on this website and on our Twitter page, @GriffinStrong. Feel free to share your experiences with us on Twitter using the hashtag #CharlesCountyStudy or email us at CharlesCountyStudy@GSPCLaw.com. You can also do the following:

 

  • State your experiences at scheduled meetings
    • Attend an informational meeting, public hearings and/or focus groups. We invite all members of the community, including non-business owners, that are interested, to attend and share their experiences at public meetings.
  • Tell us your story at your convenience
    • For those who may be uncomfortable or unable to provide input at the public meetings, GSPC welcomes comments and questions regarding the Study via email.
  • When can we read the Study?
    • The projected completion date for the entire Study is Summer, 2021. Publication of the Study results will be determined by the County and not by Griffin & Strong, P.C.