The study by Mason Tillman Associates will assess the utilization of minority and women-owned businesses countywide. (Community Impact Staff)
By Savannah Kuchar | 4:37 PM Jul 28, 2021 CDT | Updated 4:44 PM Jul 28, 2021 CDT
In a 3-2 vote, Fort Bend County commissioners moved forward on a countywide study looking at potential disparities in business utilization. The approved agreement with consultant Mason Tillman Associates will use a maximum of $300,000 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. According to county documents, the study is intended to recognize and assess possible disparities in the hiring of women or minority-owned businesses in Fort Bend County both during and prior to the pandemic. A similar study was conducted by the same firm earlier this year for Harris County. During the July 27 Commissioners Court meeting, three members of the public spoke against the agreement. Precinct 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers voted against it, along with Precinct 1 Commissioner Vincent Morales, who each raised issues on the methodologies of the study. “I am concerned that we do not have enough information on the methodology of the proposed disparity study to ensure that it will provide the basis for a court to uphold any action we may take as a result of the conclusions reached by this study,” Morales said. Precinct 4 Commissioner Ken DeMerchant said in a statement that the county’s biggest strength is its diversity.
“I always say a more inclusive Fort Bend County is a stronger Fort Bend County,” DeMerchant said. “We should always support diversity and inclusion programs, which lead to equal opportunities and representation for success.”