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Suit filed over New York State's MWBE goal

Published Apr 18, 2017

After filing 75 separate fruitless requests under freedom of information laws, the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS) has filed suit against five New York State agencies for information related to how they set minority- and women-owned business (MWBE) contracting goals.

The agencies include the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Transportation, Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Dormitory Authority, and the New York State Insurance Fund.

AGC NYS has stated that they were motivated to file the lawsuit by the frequent incidence of a 30 percent MWBE participation goal attached to state contracting work for the agencies named in the suit.

Laws relating to state contracting require that government agencies consider the capacity and availability of MWBEs on a local basis. AGC NYS, in its complaint, argues that there is a "high unlikelihood" that the allegedly high incidence of the 30 percent participation goal is consistent with the requirement for considering local factors in setting participation goals.

The organization further argues that the goal was established due to a statement Governer Andrew Cuomo made in 2014, when he announced that he wanted New York state contracting to reach a goal of 30 percent overall MWBE utilization. As a result, the goal, AGC NYS argues, has "no basis in law" and that it is possible that state agencies are using that 30% goal as their metric in lieu of considering local capacity.

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