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Commissioners to revisit disparity study

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Augusta commissioners will revisit a 2009 study of disparity in the city's award of contracts to minorities and women at a work session today requested by Commissioner Marion Williams.

The $500,000 study, performed by NERA Economic Consulting, was commissioned by the city in 2007, when a federal lawsuit found the city's existing disadvantaged business policy relied on 1994 data that had never been updated.

While the study was done, the city remains enjoined from using race- or gender-based criteria in the award of locally-funded contracts.

The 331-page study, available in the city's online document repository, found “significant evidence” of race and gender disparity in city contracting and procurement, despite the existence until the injunction of a disadvantaged business program.

Williams, who was on the commission that requested the 2009 study, was re-elected last year. He said he wants an update on what the city does next with the updated disparity data.

His request comes as the city prepares to award millions in transportation contracts funded through a new 1 percent transportation sales tax without any ongoing policy regarding the award of contracts to minorities.

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dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 01/14/13 - 12:10 am
10
1
That is ALL Marion Williams

That is ALL Marion Williams is concerned with. That is all he was concerned with last time and that is all he is concerned with this time. And he isn't the only one. Besides, has Marion looked at the last census yet? Does he realize that whites are the minority in this county now and we have been for 10 years or so as recently confirmed by the 2010 census. You can't have it both ways. You can't be the majority and keep hollering for minority preference. IF there is anyone disadvantaged around here it is a male white owned business trying to get any contracts from our Procurement Office.

How about we just let the policy be that the City does business with the vendor that has the best product for the best price.

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 01/14/13 - 01:28 am
2
4
It's always better to make

It's always better to make sure everything is equal before the FEDS get involve. On another note, usually cities who are behind have less amenities for instance. Did you know Augusta was the first city to get Imax after metro Atlanta? Please go visit the Augusta mall, and then check out the malls in Savannah, Macon, Columbus, and Athens. The Augusta mall is by far the most upscale mall outside of metro Atlanta. Let's take a look at the national retailers who pay individuals big money to find the perfect location. I couldn't think of any large retailer located in Columbus not already in Augusta.

Augusta= Costco, Apple, Tutti Frutti, Carolina Ale, Pandora, Sephora, Chop House, Jared Galleria, Tin Drum Cafe, etc.
Savannah = Whole Foods(not open yet), Marc Jacobs, Bass Pro
Athens= Trader Joes

The gap will spread over the next few years, because of the Village at Riverwatch, Carmax area, and the development at Walton Way Extension/I-20.

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 01/14/13 - 01:36 am
1
4
The truth will set you free!

I don't think anybody cares if some people don't like Augusta, but the daily ridiculous exaggerations are getting old. Richmond County is still by far the largest county(over 200k), the most important(industry/jobs/airport/shopping), attracts the largest amount of tourist, and everybody doesn't want to hear the sky is falling all the time.

I'm positive many people get turned off due to the daily negativity. I always laugh when people comment how Augusta is crime ridden or racist compared to the surrounding counties. I would love to hear the name of the areas/cities with this magical crime rate compared to West Augusta, city limits of Hephzibah, Summerville, Forest Hills, Blythe, CBD, Southwest Augusta, etc.

The facts seem to suggest Richmond County is the most progressive in terms of race. The mayor of Augusta is white, and NOBODY expects for a black male to replace Ron Cross in Columbia County, Lark Jones in North Augusta, and Fred Cavanaugh in Aiken. The truth is Richmond County will have more blacks, whites, hispanics, asians, etc living beside each other compared to the surrounding counties.

Aiken and Columbia are ran by white conservative males, and the Augusta commission is by far more DIVERSE(black, white, asian, & one female). Which one represents the United States?

ColCo
704
Points
ColCo 01/14/13 - 07:44 am
7
1
Countyman...

And of the four areas you mentioned, Augusta, North Augusta, Aiken and Columbia County, which view government as a service provider as opposed to an employment agency? Which realizes you can't spend what you don't have? Which of the four act instead of talking issues to death? Which are growing? Unfortunately, and to the detriment of us all, Augusta can't be included in any of the answers.

Techfan
6461
Points
Techfan 01/14/13 - 08:32 am
0
2
What's a "revist"?

What's a "revist"?

justthefacts
21402
Points
justthefacts 01/14/13 - 09:04 am
3
0
Wonder

Techfan, do you get invited to many parties?

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 01/14/13 - 09:06 am
5
0
References

Susan McCord posted a list of five stories that provide context for this current issue. I started reading them and intend to continue. I urge readers of this story to go up to Susan's list of links and read some details of what led up to this. I suggest you start with Sandy Hodson's 2008 story at the bottom of the list (City often passes on lowest bids). It is long, but it is worth the read.

We need an equal-opportunity surgery for the city. Carefully excise Fred Russell and Geri Sams from city employment and the city's cancer will start to heal.

LillyfromtheMills
13019
Points
LillyfromtheMills 01/14/13 - 09:28 am
1
1
JTF

Too funny!

GnipGnop
11905
Points
GnipGnop 01/14/13 - 09:35 am
4
0
Funny...

dis·par·i·ty [ di spárrətee ] 1.lack of equality: a lack of equality between people or things
2.unlikeness: dissimilarity or incongruity

The Augusta commission discussing Disparity is irony at it's best...

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 01/14/13 - 09:49 am
3
1
Work Session

Please read the first sentence of Ms. McCord’s story.

The Commission has regular meeting times set up for committee meetings (where the work is supposed to get done) and for commission meetings (where votes are cast to make things official). In order to build comraderie and trust, they added retreats a few years ago. Now, Marion is piling work sessions onto the heap.

Suppose Marion requested a work session and no one came?

You end up with a commission filled with retirees and preachers when you create a governing body that meets during business hours several times every week. People who need to work regular jobs or actually manage their own business cannot afford to take that much time away from their livlihood.

I think all Commission business should be done after the supper hour.

jpbrig
170
Points
jpbrig 01/14/13 - 10:36 am
1
2
Midnight in the Garden City

Who want to stay with Marion to midnight? LL do you want the staff here in the daytime or at night?

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 01/14/13 - 10:50 am
3
0
Night Time Is The Right Time

Columbia County manages to have necessary staff to support night-time commission meetings and night-time Planning & Zoning meetings. These staff people are salaried employees, hence their hours are flexible and they don't draw overtime pay.

Brad Owens
4290
Points
Brad Owens 01/14/13 - 11:31 am
2
3
Dismissive?

Why is everyone so dismissive of this work session out of hand? Is it just because Williams is bringing it forward?

I expect folks to be more open to looking at the internal workings of our government than that.

Folks, don't be obtuse on this issue, open your minds and lets see what the facts are. Only when they have the facts can there be good decisions made.

Brad

GnipGnop
11905
Points
GnipGnop 01/14/13 - 11:37 am
5
1
History Brad

Plain old history...Marion "disparity" Williams will bring nothing to the table but baggage and divisiveness. It's his ace in the hole.

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 01/14/13 - 11:56 am
2
0
Pedestrian Bridge

Okay, folks, you can go over to the Augusta Government web site and see for yourself that on tomorrow's commission meeting agenda is Fred Russell's deperate attempt to carry Paul Simon's water and get the commission to approve the pedestrian walkway over Reynolds street from the Marriott Parking Deck to the Marriott Convention Center. Following are items cut and pasted from the written proposal, with bold-faced added by me for emphasis:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Financial Impact: The cost for implementing the design, fabrication, installation and startup of the new Pedestrian Bridge is $991,561.00. Funding for this item is savings realized from the construction of the Reynolds Street Parking Deck.

Alternatives: 1. Approve execution of expenditures with RW Allen from savings realized for the construction of the Reynolds Street Parking Deck in the amount of 991,561.00, for design, fabrication, installation and startup of the Pedestrian Bridge. RW Allen is currently onsite completing construction of the new TEE Center. 2. Submit through normal Procurement bid process which will delay design, fabrication, construction and startup.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Can you believe the audacity of Fred (What, me worry?) Russell when he says that he is funding this bridge through savings?!?!?! What kind of alternative, double-speak, big-lie universe does Russell live in? This thing will be one million dollars (probably more when change orders are added in) of taxpayer money. We didn't save that money; it is taxpayer money to be spent. It should be spent on something to benefit our citizenry; something much more needed than a pedestrian bridge for convention-goers and Marriott guests and Marriott employees and Marriott big-wigs.

As far as alternatives, how about Alternative 3: Vote NO!

Proposal for Pedestrian Bridge

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 01/14/13 - 12:03 pm
2
0
P.S.

Paul Simon himself is slated to make a 5-minute presentation to pitch a YES vote for this bridge at the meeting tomorrow. Celebrity watchers will want to get a seat early.

dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 01/14/13 - 12:08 pm
5
0
countyman......."Aiken and

countyman......."Aiken and Columbia are ran by white conservative males, and the Augusta commission is by far more DIVERSE(black, white, asian, & one female)."

I hate to tell you this but my primary goal is not to live in the most diverse place I can find. My primary goal is to live somewhere there is a LEGAL, EQUAL TAX & FEE SYSTEM. Somewhere that the businesses and restaurants are not closed and boarded up. Somewhere that kind of spreads the spending of taxpayer revenue around. Somewhere that is safe and secure and gets the same police, fire, and other services as the places where all of my tax money gets spent. Somewhere where my area gets the same kind of "investment" as Reynolds St and Lany Walker. Somewhere where I don't get that "Sorry South End, we can't do much for you guys" attitude that I detect in many of your responses.

I didn't really understand the point you made about Columbia and Aiken being run by "white conservative males" while we are more diverse. Anyone who can see what's going on in Coumbia County or across the river will immediately see that the diversity of our leadership, while appearing to be politically correct, is not necessarily an operational asset.

Those people who located in Columbia County didn't go there because it is run by "white conservative males" they went there because they get a better quality of life, they get better quality schools, they get something for their tax money, and they don't get ulcers watching their "diverse" commissioners get paralyzed by 1960's issues and attitudes. If you could move some of our diverse commissioners to the Columbia County commission you would cause a housing boom in Lincoln County..

dichotomy
32136
Points
dichotomy 01/14/13 - 12:15 pm
3
1
Hey Marion.....how about

Hey Marion.....how about revisiting the ILLEGAL DUAL PROPERTY TAX & FEE SYTEM. Let's see how much you are concerned with EQUALITY when it comes to everyone paying the same tax rate, the same for fire and garbage service, and having their property appraised using the same, legal by state law, valuation process. None of which do we have today.

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 01/14/13 - 12:56 pm
2
3
ColCo.... Do you honestly

ColCo.... Do you honestly believe Augusta is not growing?

Do you really think Starbucks(Georgia deal of the year) would invest $172 million to build a facility, and donate $200k to the technology center in a city who's not growing? I do try to have legitimate debates on here, but sometimes they don't make any sense.

The other comments you mentioned are clearly your opinions, and not actual facts.

Dichotomy... I can think of multiple schools(non magnet) in Richmond County who are better the schools in Columbia County.

Please bring up one area in Columbia County with a higher quality of life compared to West Augusta?

Little Lamb
45360
Points
Little Lamb 01/14/13 - 04:28 pm
3
0
Schools

Yes, Countyman, you probably can pick a handful of the best-performing Richmond County schools, compare them to the handful of worst-performing Columbia County schools, and draw a conclusion. But that conclusion would be flawed and meaningless.

ColCo
704
Points
ColCo 01/14/13 - 05:02 pm
5
1
Countyman

I could care less about debating, but the fact is Augusta's population has been stagnant for over a decade. The populations in surrounding counties are growing, Richmond County's is not. You mention quality of life, without factoring a sane governing body into that quality, I'll compare ours against yours any day.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/14/13 - 05:24 pm
3
1
countyman please tell me

countyman please tell me which schools in RC, nonmagnet, are doing better than those in CC. Not to include the one on Fort Gordon. This should be interesting.

catawba7
319
Points
catawba7 01/14/13 - 05:42 pm
2
1
We need an equal-opportunity surgery for the city.

Littlelamb said: "We need an equal-opportunity surgery for the city. Carefully excise Fred Russell and Geri Sams from city employment and the city's cancer will start to heal".

So true and I am so HAPPY Mr. Williams is back on the committee, keep them honest and make them do their jobs...THANKS!

The Augusta Commission needed new blood instead of business as usual making sure South Augusta was disrespected.

countyman
19731
Points
countyman 01/14/13 - 06:17 pm
1
3
Corporate at Starbucks>Individual opinions

I'm not going to debate the subject anymore either. The population of Richmond County is growing, and 2013 has nothing to do with the previous decade.

I guess some people actually think they know more about the current population growth(2013)in Richmond County compared to the national brand Starbucks.

Augusta didn't have construction projects similar to the 200 acre Haynes Station subdivision underway on Gordon Hwy in Southwest Augusta a decade ago. Please go visit the Eldberry Elderberry(on Jimmie Dyess Pkwy), and then tell Richmond County is not growing. New homes/residents, and this is only one neighborhood.

Columbia county only grew because of the media hype(conservative media), and it became the new area. The hype is pretty much over with, and it's no longer the 'new place'. In every city people always end up flocking back into the urban core after the inner suburb phase. Over the next few years certain areas of Columbia County will exceed the comfortable minority population for some people. Expect for those people to move further out in Columbia County(Appling) and into Lincoln/Mcduffie counties. Richmond County will always be able to fall back on the downtown/urban core. Multiple developments are on the way, and those will help attract more future developments. Columbia County will end up like Gwinnett county in Atlanta, because they won't have a urban core to fall back on.

The 2011 graduation rate at Cross Creek(South Augusta) is higher compared to Grovetown.

GnipGnop
11905
Points
GnipGnop 01/14/13 - 06:41 pm
2
0
How about...

Laney, Josey, Butler? How about SAT scores?

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/14/13 - 07:36 pm
1
0
countyman

How much higher is the grad rate? Give me stats. And how about those SAT scores.

Patty-P
3516
Points
Patty-P 01/14/13 - 08:00 pm
1
0
Graduation rate for Cross

Graduation rate for Cross Creek was a little higher than for Grovetown High. BUT, CC did not meet AYP and is a Title 1 school.
See link:
http://archives.gadoe.org/ReportingFW.aspx?PageReq=103&SchoolId=35921&T=...

SOMWBA
2
Points
SOMWBA 01/15/13 - 12:31 am
0
0
Disparity Study

We need not worry about disadvantaged businesses growing and prospering. They dont have the skill set or capacity to do anything except what we toss them. So sit and enjoy dining at the feast knowing the crumbs under the table will take care of the problem. The federal dollars will come to Augusta without regard for the status of disadvantaged businesses. We got Obama looking the orther way 9(wink, wink)

ColCo
704
Points
ColCo 01/15/13 - 07:29 am
1
0
Countyman...

So your opinion is right and the US Census is wrong? Since you have focused on the two, compare the number of new housing starts between Richmond and Columbia County, compare the number of existing home sales, the increase in school enrollment. You keep mentioning Starbucks as if they are some type of Messianic entity, they are not. They came to Richmond County because of the deal and because of what the entire area offered, not just Richmond County. Your strategy of an urban core is valid, however it is a 30 to 40 year cycle and most of us posting here won't be alive to see it.

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