Disparity & Availability Study

Bexar County Disparity and Availability Study

The County wishes to learn the status of opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses (SMWBE) to participate in county contracts and undertake all necessary and affirmative steps to ensure that such businesses are afforded equal opportunity for participation. To that end, the County seeks a consultant or a team of consultants to conduct a Disparity & Availability Study.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Disparity and Availability Study will be announced soon and will be linked here.


Disparity Study FAQ:

What is a Disparity & Availability Study?  

A Disparity Study determines whether a government entity, either in the past or currently, engages in exclusionary practices in the solicitation and award of contracts to minority, and women‐owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs). 

What is the purpose of a Disparity & Availability Study? Why is it necessary? 

The study is necessitated in part by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson. The court decision imposed legal requirements on jurisdictions to establish a “compelling interest” to support the establishment of a minority and women business program. 

What factors are considered in determining whether disparity exists? 

Disparity is calculated in the form of an index. The disparity index is a ratio of the percentage of utilization and the percentage of availability of M/WBE firms. If the disparity index is 100, the utilization of M/WBE is leveled with the availability of M/WBEs in the market area. If the index is less than 80, it indicates that M/WBEs are significantly underutilized by an entity based on availability. Indices between 80 and 100 - which is close to full participation indicates underutilization though not significant. 

Has Bexar County ever conducted a Disparity & Availability Study? What were the results of the previous study?  

In April 2010, Bexar County engaged Mason Tillman Associates to  conduct a Disparity and Availability Study. The study was anticipated to  take 14 months. Data collection and analysis was completed in July  2011. A draft report was delivered to County staff for analysis and  review on November 2011. On September 18, 2012 staff posted an agenda item to present the  consultant's report and staff analysis for Commissioners Court  consideration.

According to the consultant's report, the available data did not allow the County to initiate a race-conscious program. The consultant reported some problems in gathering complete information, specifically regarding subcontractor information, and  reporting “…the county's data set is insufficient to identify disparity  in individual industries as required by case law, and there was no  evidence of discrimination.”

Commissioner Court received the final Disparity and Availability Study and directed County staff to develop a plan to be reviewed at a Court meeting for improved data collection, and to enhance race-neutral  strategies for small, minority, woman and veteran-owned business  enterprise participation in County contracting.

 What minority groups are being analyzed as part of the disparity study? 

The groups included in the study are:

  • Anglo/Caucasian/White
  • Black or African American
  • Asian
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Native American
  • The study will also evaluate utilization by gender