October 2, 2014
By Stephanie West
New York, NY – More than two-thirds of City agencies earned “D”s or “F”s on Comptroller Scott M. Stringer’s inaugural letter grades assessing how well New York City government is procuring goods and services through minority and women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs). According to Comptroller Stringer the letter grades, outlined in the “Making the Grade” report released October 1st, are intended as a diagnostic tool for agencies to improve performance and transparency in M/WBE spending.
“New York City spends more than $17 billion on goods and services each year, but less than four percent goes toward Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises,” Comptroller Stringer said. “When the City gets a ‘D’ for how well it is meeting its own goals, it’s clearly unacceptable. Growing the pie for M/WBE firms will be a key weapon in our battle against income inequality while increasing competition in procurement, driving down costs for taxpayers and creating jobs across all five boroughs.”
Local Law 1 of 2013 – which updated citywide goals for M/WBE procurement, broken down along ethnic and industry lines – provided the framework for the grading system. Thirty-one Mayoral Agencies and the Comptroller’s Office received grades, which are based on actual spending by City agencies.
New York City has over 400,000 certified minority-owned firms and 300,000 certified women-owned firms, yet the M/WBE share of City procurement has dropped from a recent high of 5 percent in FY12 to only 3.9 percent in FY14. The Comptroller’s letter grades examine agency spending, not contracting, and excludes spending not subject to Local Law 1, such as human services.
“Improving our spending on M/WBEs is an economic and a social justice issue. It is unacceptable when not a single City agency can meet the standard set forth by our own laws. We need to take concrete steps to make sure that every company has an equal opportunity to compete to do business with the City. All agencies, and my office, must redouble efforts to help ensure our City’s economic future,” Stringer said.