Frequently Asked Questions

What is a disparity study?

A disparity study is an evaluation of a government’s contracting history and policies related to minority and woman-owned businesses. Specifically, a disparity study examines the number of contracts and contract dollars awarded to minority and women-owned businesses (utilization). The government agency’s utilization is compared to the number of minority and women-owned businesses that are ready, willing and able to perform government contracts (availability). Availability and utilization data are used to perform a statistical analysis which determines if a disparity in contract awards exists for each racial and gender group.

Who is sponsoring the Study?

The Race and Gender Disparity Study is sponsored by the City of Oakland and is managed by the City Administrator’s Office, Contracts and Compliance Division.

Who is conducting the Study?

The Study is being conducted by an Oakland-based firm, Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd. Mason Tillman is a nationally recognized disparity study expert. Mason Tillman has subcontracted with two Oakland S/LBEs: Craig Communications, Inc. and MMM Design. Craig Communications, Inc. will conduct interviews with business owners, and MMM Design has created the Study website and outreach collateral.

What is the purpose of the Study?

The purpose of the Study is to determine how successful the City has been in achieving its business equity and inclusion goals. The Study will also give the City a basis for modifying its business inclusion policies. Any recommendations for policy modifications will be based on the Study’s findings.

What guidelines exist to help direct the Study?

The Study will be guided by the United States Supreme Court’s 1989 decision, City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co., 488 U.S. 469 (1989), and related cases. Also, because the City is within the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, the Study will comply with Section 31 of the California Constitution.

Why has the City decided to conduct the Study?

The City of Oakland has decided to conduct a disparity study to aid its efforts to provide economic opportunity for its residents and businesses, stimulate economic development, and use the power of the public purse to support and empower the local community – especially those that have been disadvantaged.

How will Mason Tillman identify available businesses?

Mason Tillman will conduct a broad-based business outreach strategy to identify available businesses. It includes contacting local business technical assistance organizations, advocacy groups and chambers of commerce. Outreach collateral will be translated into different languages, as needed. Available businesses will also be sourced from City of Oakland’s contract records, certification lists, pre-bid meetings, and vendor database.

Which industries are being studied?

The industries included in the analysis are construction, professional services, and goods and services.

How will the City and its residents benefit from this Disparity Study?

By conducting the Study, the City will:

  • Have the statistical findings to support its business diversity and inclusion policies
  • Have a current list of all local businesses, including businesses owned by people of color and women in the market area that are willing and able to contract with the City
  • Understand the local businesses’ experiences contracting with the City
  • Receive best management practices to improve the City’s contracting processes
  • Increase the number of bidders and proposers on the City’s contracts
  • Lower the City’s procurement costs
  • Increase economic opportunities for Oakland residents and businesses

How can local business owners get involved?

You are invited to participate in the study by:

  • Attending a business outreach meeting scheduled October 21st and October 24th.
  • Providing public comment at a business outreach meeting.
  • Submitting a Business Information Survey to affirm your willingness and ability to contract with the City at the provided link: Oakland Disparity Study Business Survey
  • Agreeing to be interviewed regarding your contracting experiences
  • Providing membership lists/directories from local business and professional organizations

Who should business owners contact for additional information?

For more information about the Study, you can contact Mason Tillman by telephone or email.

   (510) 835-9012


Translate »