The 2017 report reveals: From the $21 billion the city spent for products and services contracted to outside vendors, just $1 billion was spent with M/WBEs
For the third year in a row, Comptroller Scott Stringer awarded the city a “D+” for its lack of contracting with minority- and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBE). In “Making the Grade,” the annual evaluation of 31 mayoral city agencies and the comptroller’s office, Stringer analyzed the actual spending of each agency in a fiscal year with minority- and women-owned firms. The report aims to provide greater transparency on the city’s spending and to encourage and promote the increased utilization of M/WBEs.
“By contracting with a diverse array of businesses, the city fosters the competition needed to spend taxpayer dollars most efficiently,” stated Stringer in his report. “A vibrant M/WBE program is vital for the fiscal and economic health of the city and its communities.”
The report found that since 2014, the city has made tangible progress thanks to designating funding and personnel to oversee the M/WBE program: In 2017 more companies registered as M/WBEs, increasing the total number from 4,115 in 2015 to 5,259 in 2017; more M/WBEs received city contracts; and the city increased its overall spending with M/WBEs from $463.5 million in 2015 to $1.037 billion in 2017.
Yet, the report also shows: From the $21 billion the city spent for products and services contracted to outside vendors, just $1 billion was spent with M/WBEs – only 4.9% of all city contracts were awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses.
Smaller agencies like the Department for the Aging, Small Business Services and the Commission on Human Rights increased the amount of money spent on M/WBEs and therefore received “A” grades. However, some of the city’s largest agencies – with the largest budgets – such as the Department of Buildings, the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Transportation received “Fs” for their decline in spending with minority- and women-owned businesses.
The comptroller concluded his report with recommendations: Every city agency should hire a full-time Chief Diversity Officer to focus exclusively on M/WBE accountability; the city and the state should implement a single platform for M/WBE certification to streamline the certification process ; and the city should assess large contracts with upcoming renewals and consider rebidding those contracts to create new opportunities for M/WBEs.
“New York City is home to the most diverse business community in the country, and the success of New York City’s minority- and women-owned businesses – which collectively employ almost 600,000 New Yorkers – is critical to the city’s economy,” stated Stringer.