Mayor De Blasio "Not Serious" About Boosting NYC's Spending With Minority and Women-Owned Businesses

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In commentary a De Blasio ally takes issue with inequality in how City does business with Minority and women-owned businesses
 
[Commentary: Leveling The Playing Field]
 
I would like to congratulate City Comptroller Scott Stringer for being consistent and issuing another report on the state of affairs of 
New York City's contracting --business-- with Minority/Women Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE). 
 
Sadly, the City itself has yet to undertake such reporting. Comptroller Stringer is being too generous with a ‘D+’ instead of an ‘F’, but I give the Comptroller an ‘A+’ for shedding light on the issue of M/WBE underrepresentation in city contracting.
 
The comptroller’s 2015 report saw an increase in the share of Asians and Hispanics in city contracting, but there was a decrease in participation by African Americans and Women. 
 
Despite the report listing some city agencies as improving spending on M/WBEs, the report highlights the need for City agencies to increase transparency on M/WBE participation rates by enforcing reporting by city prime contractors- a situation that erodes accountability in the contracting processes. 
 
Of note in the comptroller’s report is the fact that only 2% of the 46,000 firms doing business with the city are M/WBEs. Additionally, only 20% of certified M/WBEs are participating in city contracting.   
 
The Black Institute has challenged Mayor de Blasio’s claim that $1.6 billion dollars were spent on M/WBEs for the 2015 fiscal year. Those figures combined multiple year awards, which reduced transparency. This latest report by the city comptroller’s office confirms TBI’s main contention that the City is not doing enough in actual spending on M/WBEs participation in city contracting. 
 
The fact that African Americans and women lost some ground in 2015 should be an indication of the lack of seriousness with which City agencies are approaching minorities and women-owned businesses. 
 
We should be more serious about spending public monies on M/WBE businesses who are hiring from our neighborhoods.
 
Led by Bertha Lewis, the Black Institute works to shape intellectual discourse and impact public policy from a uniquely Black perspective.
 
 

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