Two years ago the city paid a California consultant $143,000 to study whether barriers were preventing some companies from competing for city contracts. The study by Mason Tillman Associates found that some companies do feel left out of the process, and the study’s forthcoming $67,869 second phase will try to explain why and what can be done about it, Housing and Neighborhood Development Services Deputy Director Heather Presley-Cowen told City Council Tuesday.
In part because of concerns raised earlier by some council members, the study is not seeking solutions that are specific to race or gender. But Presley-Cowen said removing barriers could benefit companies and the city alike. “Some people think other companies have an ‘in’ (with the city) and won’t compete,” she said. “We have some proud businesses here who just want an opportunity to compete, not handouts.”