Legislation Provides ‘Even Playing Field’
Council Member James Sanders Jr., along with fellow City council members, presented new legislation that provides more economic development opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses. The Council’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program Legislation was created based on a study that found statistical disproportions in City contracting jobs under $1 million in the areas of goods, professional services, construction, standard services, and architectural and engineering services.
The legislation introduced will require that agencies and contractors meet evaluation standards within the Enterprise Program.
“At long last the City Council is addressing the issue of an even playing field for all businesses in the New York City procurement area,” said Councilman Sanders. The requirements of the program include setting citywide goals for minority and women-owned business participation in City contracts assessed at $1 million and under, while also setting subcontracting goals of all sizes. The legislation will require the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity (DEFO) to establish and maintain comprehensive lists of all available minority/women-owned businesses, and restructure certification to be more efficient. It also calls for a deputy Commissioner or executive officer to manage the efforts of City agencies and their compliance with the Enterprise Program.
“New York is a first-class City with a third-class policy for businesses owned by people of color and women. I am pleased to introduce this bill, along with Council Member Monserrate, Council Member Jackson and others in the City Council, which should open the door for fairness and justice for the business community of New York,” stated Sanders.
The Council’s measures go further than the Mayor’s executive order that helps minority and women-owned businesses. The Mayor does not set minority/women owned business goals for City contracts, and the order is limited to certain rules. The Enterprise Program Legislation, if implemented as law, would be influential in encouraging a steadier flow of business contracts to minorities and women.