Boston mayor issues executive order supporting equitable procurement

MA News - Published Nov 04, 2019

Boston's Mayor Martin J. Walsh has issued an executive order in support of diversifying city procurement practices. The executive order follows an executive order from 2016 which also was targeted at ensuring fair and equitable access for diverse businesses to city procurement opportunities.

"To have a truly strong city, Boston's success must be shared by all," the mayor said. "The City's own spending power is a key lever for increasing equity in business opportunities, and this Executive Order is the next step in ensuring we match our business practices with our values and goals."

The recent executive order consists of several components: modernizing the public directory of small and local businesses for the City of Boston, and requiring officials to verify their usage of the directory while creating bids; creating a training program for City employees and departments involved in procurement; requiring diverse contracting to be considered when setting the yearly City budget; and requiring all departments to create procurement plans which "prioritize equitable business practices". There are also plans to update the City's website to make finding bids and contracts easier.

The executive order comes on the heels of criticism of the City for it's low rate of minority business enterprise utilization. Early numbers showed a 2 percent MWBE participation rate for fiscal year 2018, although the Mayor's office has revised the figure to 5.3 percent due to participation of state-certified MWBEs not previously certified with the City. Advocacy groups for MWBEs have pointed out that certain other large national cities of and near Boston's size have managed participation rates of roughly 20 to 30 percent.

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