Some question cost, need of Albany disparity study -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Some question cost, need of Albany disparity study

(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB) (Source: WALB)

The city of Albany is moving forward with a disparity study, although some leaders don't think it's a wise way to spend money.

It's been 8 years since the City of Albany conducted a disparity study, taking a closer look at the bidding process on contract jobs to ensure equality.

That study cost $315,000 according to city employees.

Ward III Commissioner B.J. Fletcher voted against moving forward with the study at Tuesday's meeting, as did Ward V Commissioner Bob Langstaff.

Fletcher commented that the the study "will be the 4th study with zero results."

Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard said he "totally disagreed" with Fletcher, and said that "we need a program to make sure minorities and women are included fairly" in the city's procurement process.

The last study, conducted in 2008, found the city of Albany had "some passive discrimination" and city employees Tuesday said some things were done to "mitigate the circumstances", but didn't say exactly what steps were taken.

Fletcher wants to spend the money educating business owners on how to go through the bidding process, by "empowering" minority small-business owners about the application process and winning bids.

Fletcher said, "We could have taken that money, built a team, and empower these people with knowledge.  And, instead we do what we always do, consulting or a study."

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard, who voted in favor of moving forward with the disparity study said, "My goal is to help everyone understand the process that we use and to help everyone be prepared to participate in the process. So the disparity study, in my mind, is one way of helping us get there."

Mayor Hubbard expressed concern about the high cost of the study, and wants it cut at least one-third.

The city is also looking to the county to help pay for some of the cost.

A suggestion was made to turn to University of Georgia's Carl Vinson Institute to conduct the study at a much-lower cost to taxpayers.

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