Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued an executive order establishing a team to explore ways to meet his goal of expanding minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) participation in state contracting to 20 percent.
"Since its creation, the Empire State's great strength has come from the diversity, innovation and perseverance of all its residents," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's M/WBE programs have provided access to countless entrepreneurs and businesses and provided a level playing ground for state contracts. However, we must always look for ways to improve and strengthen our business climate and make it reflective of our current world. This team will find new ways to open doors to success for any New Yorker who has the talent, drive and passion for their business to succeed."
Current M/WBE participation in the state's contracting and procurement process is at 9.2 percent. A disparity study commissioned last year by the state Department of Economic Development identified numerous barriers that have impaired access by M/WBE to state contracting. Governor Cuomo's M/WBE team will identify ways to overcome these obstacles and enhance existing programs to spur participation.
Barriers to M/WBE participation include:
- Commitment from agency leadership to meeting M/WBE goals
- Access to information
- Specificity in contracts regarding M/WBE participation
- Assistance and supportive services programs
- Obstacles in credit and bonding that lead to difficulty in securing state contracts
- Inconsistent and infrequent monitoring and compliance during contract period
The team, chaired by former New York City Comptroller William Thompson, will be comprised of: state agency heads managing M/WBE programs; members of the state senate and assembly, including members of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus; representatives of companies actively involved in supplier and workforce diversity contracting and inclusion practices; recognized experts in M/WBE implementation; and representatives from New York state academic institutions.
Chair of the M/WBE team and former New York City Comptroller William Thompson said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo for establishing the Minority and Women-Owned Businesses team and am honored to serve as chairman. Together, we will help right past inequities and continue Governor Cuomo's efforts to reform state government operations through promoting equality within our procurement processes."
Member of the M/WBE team and State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson said, "New Yorks M/WBE program aims to level the playing field for women and minority-owned businesses, and this task force will help guarantee a more equitable and successful state procurement process. I appreciate Governor Cuomo's leadership in creating this team and I look forward to removing the barriers which hampered M/WBE's for too long."
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez said, "It is vital that our government procurement process represents the diversity that has made New York into the state it is today. I commend Governor Cuomo for creating this team, and I am confident that it will facilitate greater M/WBE participation."
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, "This team and its mission demonstrate Governor Cuomo's commitment to supporting diversity and small business involvement in the state procurement process. Increased participation by M/WBEs will create jobs and support economic prosperity for all of our communities."
The initial members of Governor Cuomo's M/WBE team are:
- William Thompson, former Comptroller of New York City
- Senator Martin Dilan, District 28
- Senator Adriano Espaillat, District 31
- Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, District 36
- Senator Betty Little, District 45
- Senator Bill Perkins, District 30
- Senator Patty Ritchie, District 48
- Assemblymember Earlene Hooper, District 18
- Assemblymember Grace Meng, District 22
- Assemblymember Nick Perry, District 58
- Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, District 141
- Assemblymember Peter Rivera, District 76
- Assemblymember Keith Wright, District 70
- Sandra Wilkin, President, Women Builders Council, Inc.
- Jacqueline Williams, Coordinator, MWBE Coalition
- James Francis, Board Chair, Council of Urban Professionals (CUP)
- Philip Harlow, Chief Diversity Officer & Director of Labor Relations, Xerox Corporation
- Lisa Quiroz, Senior Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Time Warner, Inc.
- Walter Broadnax, Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, the Campbell Public Affairs Institute, Maxwell School of Syracuse University
- Nancy Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York
- Mylan Denerstein, Counsel to the Governor
- Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, Chief Diversity Officer, Governor's Office
- Alphonso B. David, Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights, Governor's Office
- Leecia Eve, Senior Vice President for Empire State Development (ESD)
- Joan McDonald, Acting Commissioner, Department of Transportation
- Robert L. Megna, Budget Director, Department of Budget
- Joe Rabito, First Deputy Commissioner, Office of General Services
- Michael Garner, Chief Diversity Officer, Metropolitan Transit Authority
- Valerie Grey, Chief Operating Officer, State Education Department
- Paul Williams, Executive Director, Dormitory Authority of New York