New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has released the fifth annual "Making the Grade" report for the city, which assigns letter grades to city agencies based on they performed in including minority- and woman-owned businesses (MWBEs) in their contract work awards. The report gave the city as a whole a grade of "D+" for the fourth consecutive year.
The report states that while overall spending with MWBEs has increased, over 80 percent of MWBEs that have been certified by the city are still receiving no New York City contracts. In addition, the total amount of contract awards made to MWBEs was in the amount of $1 billion, out of a total $19.3 billion for the total NYC budget in fiscal year 2018, for an MWBE participation of 5.5 percent.
Stringer made several recommendations for bettering MWBE inclusion rates, with the foremost recommendation being that every city agency have a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO), and that the CDO be a mandated position within each agency's charter. The report notes that out of thirty-two agencies that could have a CDO, only seven currently have such a position. Stringer also recommended that the way the city awards "citywide requirements" contracts be changed. Currently, these "citywide requirements" contracts are frequently awarded to large individual vendors, as they consist of goods and services vended on an "as-needed" basis over a period of years (as would be the case with the provision of continually-needed equipment and services). The report recommended that more of these contracts be awarded to pools of smaller MWBEs rather than to single large companies, increasing the ability of smaller companies to keep up in this field of contracting. Other recommendations made included tightening the contract review deadline process in order to allow MWBEs to be paid for their work on a more timely basis, and requiring prime vendors to share more information about their own supplier diversity policies.
In releasing the report, Stringer spoke of the need to "build a five borough economy". While some agencies have increased their letter grade from last year, the letter grade stayed the same for 17 agencies, and the ten agencies receiving a grade of either "D" or "F" account for 50 percent of total MWBE spending for the city.
Read the report at https://comptroller.nyc.gov/reports/making-the-grade/reports/making-the-grade-2018/