What is a Disparity Study and what will it cover?

    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 city of Aurora’s procurement process, availability and utilization of contracts by all vendors, including minority- and women-owned business enterprises to analyze whether race or gender has been a barrier to equal access to public contracts for all business owners.

    This study will cover city spending from the fiscal year 2018 through 2021. 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 city of Aurora’s 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.

    Who is Griffin & Strong P.C. and how were they selected for this project?

    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 about this law firm, visit gspclaw.com.  Their social media channels include:

    The study resulted from public discussions with members of City Council. GSPC bid for this project as part of the city's competitive Request for Proposal public procurement process and was selected to conduct the study. 

    How is this Disparity Study funded?

    The Disparity Study was part of the formal public budget process in 2021. The project is included in the 2022 city budget that is published on the city website (AuroraGov.org/Budget). This project is funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

    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 the city that will be necessary to determine the utilization of firms in the marketplace. 

    The study process includes: 

    • Principal Investigator, Dr. Vince Eagan and Legal Analyst, David Maher, Esq., will conduct policy reviews and interviews to understand the internal procurement processes and procedures. 
    • Data Analyst, Rose Nyaondo will analyze the data to determine the city'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.

    The study also includes anecdotal evidence as it is also crucial to any recommendations GSPC may make to the city. GSPC anecdotal evidence includes the following:

    • Survey of business owners across all work categories. Firms throughout the city of Aurora 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 and with the city of Aurora.
    • Email comments, informational meetings and public hearings will all be open to the public.

    Other relevant study processes include an analysis of the city's legal environment, both locally and federally and a purchasing practices analysis to better understand the procurement process. The study team will conduct interviews with the city's procurement staff regarding their procurement process and the current procurement policies to review whether any barriers to participation exist in the procurement process.

    Who should participate in the study?

    All firms currently in business or desiring to do business with the city of Aurora.

    How will Griffin & Strong engage with study participants?

    Public Hearings

    The public hearings are an opportunity for businesses and other community members to go on the record with their comments about doing business with the city of Aurora, or its marketplace. All comments will become part of the public record and will be included in the study analysis. The public hearings are scheduled to take place in August 2022.

    Meetings with GSPC

    GSPC also desires the feedback of organizations that speak for the local business community. Local business, civic, and trade organizations may be contacted to participate. If you desire to meet with GSPC to discuss your organization’s perspective or relevant experience(s) working with the city of Aurora, contact us at AuroraCOStudy@gspclaw.com.

    Anecdotal Interviews

    The Disparity Study will provide an opportunity for feedback from business owners about experiences, both positive and negative, contracting with the city of Aurora. Anecdotal interviews are one-on-one interviews with business owners to discuss their experiences doing business with the city or navigating business development in the region. 

    This testimony can play a critical role in improving current programs. Beginning with informational meetings in the summer, the Disparity Study anecdotal process will involve the completion of anecdotal interviews, public hearings and focus groups. We estimate that anecdotal interviews will begin in August 2022.

    If contacted, we encourage your honest and transparent feedback.

    Survey of Business Owners

    GSPC will be conducting a Survey of Business Owners to understand the experiences of firms in the city of Aurora’s marketplace in doing business both with and in the city. All firms in the marketplace are invited to take the survey which will be sent out in September 2022. If you do not receive a survey directly, it will be posted on the website and you will be able to access it here.

    Email Comments

    For those who are not contacted to participate in an interview or focus group, are unavailable, or are generally uncomfortable providing public testimony, you may email us anytime with anecdotal comments or questions at AuroraCOStudy@gspclaw.com.

    Why participate in the study?

    It is GSPC’s goal to have gathered the most representative anecdotal evidence possible from all firms currently in business or desiring to do business with the city of Aurora. 

    It is GSPC’s desire to understand both the practical challenges and barriers, as well as the positive experiences faced by businesses within the marketplace. 

    Participation from the business community would provide further insight into the city of Aurora’s practices and may shed new light on an area for improvement or substantiate those recounted by others. 

    It is only with the participation of the business community that GSPC will be able to provide the city with substantive recommendations that can make a real impact on their policies, and your experiences, moving forward.

    How can businesses 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 by:

    • Attending informational meetings, public hearings and/or focus groups. We invite all, including non-business owners, that are interested, to attend and share their experiences at public meetings.
    • Sharing your story at your convenience. For those who may be generally uncomfortable providing their input in public arenas or who are unable to participate in any other way but, would like to share their experiences doing business with the city of Aurora, GSPC welcomes comments and questions regarding the Study via email at AuroraCOstudy@@gspclaw.com
    • Getting informed of the Study results. The projected completion date for the entire Study is March 2023. Publication of the Study results will be determined by the city and not by Griffin & Strong, P.C.

    Can Aurora residents participate in this study, if so how?

    No. This study is for all firms currently in business or desiring to do business with the city of Aurora.