Stringer Faults New York City on Diversity of Its Vendors

Nikita Stewartoct, New York Times, October 2, 2014

Comptroller Scott M. Stringer unveiled a letter-grading system on Wednesday that rates New York City agencies in terms of their spending on goods and services provided by businesses owned by women and minorities. Overall, the inaugural report card gave the city a D.

Of the 32 agencies examined, none got an A, and only the Department of Cultural Affairs and Landmarks Preservation Commission earned B’s.

“We looked at ourselves as well,” Mr. Stringer said during a news conference at his office, “and we got a C.”

“Just as letter grades raised public health standards,” he added, “it is our hope that these grades will change the conversation about city procurement.”

About 3.9 percent of the city’s $17.8 billion procurement budget went to minority- and women-owned firms in the 2014 fiscal year, which ended on June 30, up from 2.7 percent the previous year, but well off the 5 percent high achieved in the 2012 fiscal year. The participation of such firms in city contracts falls far short of goals set by Local Law 1, which went into effect last year.

The city has certified about 3,800 minority- and women-owned business enterprises, or M.W.B.E.s, since 2007, but they are not getting city contracts in substantial numbers, Mr. Stringer said. “I don’t think we have mentored these firms,” he said. “I don’t think we spent the time within the agencies getting them into meetings where they can compete.”

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The city awarded a record $420 million in prime contracts to such firms this fiscal year, Marti Adams, a mayoral spokeswoman, said, adding that the administration was eager to include such firms in its Hurricane Sandy recovery program. {snip}

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