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Toledo city council members approve funds for disparity study

Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 6:23 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The City of Toledo will conduct a disparity study to determine whether there’s discrimination regarding minority contractors and women.

On Tuesday, city council members approved a $350,000 item to find out.

Some minority business owners believe there are significant barriers that exist when it comes to women and minority contractors.

“It’s automatically having extra hurdles in place no matter what your skill set is. There’s always a certain perception available where they think you’re not good enough. So you have to work twice as hard to prove that you are as good or better than other companies that don’t look like me,” said contractor Blair Johnson.

Toledo city council approved funding for the administration to hire Griffin and Strong, an Atlanta law firm, to conduct the disparity study.

“It’s looking specifically at our procurement and whether or not the city has been a passive participant in discriminating against minorities and women owned businesses,” said City of Toledo Chief of Staff Catherine Crosby.

Crosby says there’s reason to believe there is disparity in contracting within the city. She says if Toledo wants to improve opportunities, there must be evidence of a disparity - then leaders could tailor a program to address it.

“The second part of it is addressing our policies. Do we have any barriers in our policies that would prevent women and minorities from contracting,” said Crosby.

The study will also provide recommendations on goals the administration needs to set for those contracts. In the meantime Johnson hopes the report won’t fall by the wayside when the city gets it.

“I think the results of the study need to be put in place and put into action,” said Johnson.

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