From New York Daily News:
The city is doling out less of its contract cash to businesses owned by minorities and women, a new report by City Controller Scott Stringer found.
Only 4.8% of contract spending went to the firms in the 2016 fiscal year — down from 5.3% the year before, according to Stringer.
That amounts to just $728 million out of the $15.3 billion the city spent on goods and services.
“We’re actually now going backwards,” said Stringer, who documented the first decline in the stat since 2013. “That’s alarming.”
Stringer gave the city a D+ grade overall for its minority contracting. Out of 32 agencies graded, nearly half got D’s or F’s, and only one, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, got an A.
There are 4,527 minority- and woman-owned firms, known as MWBEs, certified to do business with the city — but only 994 actually got city money in 2016, the report says.
The worst grade went to city contracting with black-owned businesses, which got an F, while the best, a C, was awarded to its dealings with Asian-owned firms.
“This is going at a glacial pace,” Stringer said. “By the time we make headway…we are going to see generations of lost business opportunities for people of color [AND] women.”
He blamed “bureaucracy” and “paperwork” in part for the hurdles the businesses face in getting city jobs.
“You think you’re a certified MWBE and you’re going to make a living and grow a business, and then you start knocking on the doors of city agencies, and they basically say we’re out to lunch, do not apply,” he said. “It’s a missed opportunity for the entire city economy.”
Stringer, a some-time rival to Mayor de Blasio who has not ruled out running against him, lobbed his latest criticism at the mayor’s administration after a recent clash where de Blasio accused him of “grandstanding” and a spokesman said he’s “never managed anything” and doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
“I think my management skills are pretty well regarded in this city,” Stringer shot back Monday.
The controller also released an interactive map showing the location and city spending history of all the city’s certified MWBEs.
Stringer’s report counts actual city spending in a given year, saying that’s the most accurate measurement since contracts awarded don’t always translate into actual dollars in the pocket of small businesses.
The mayor’s office disputes that methodology, saying contract awards give a more accurate picture of the city’s progress since payments are tied to contracts given out in prior years, some before he took office. By their measure, 14% of the value of city contracts went to MWBEs, out of a goal of 30%.
“Comptroller Stringer is wrong on the facts. Last year this administration awarded $697 million in contracts to M/WBEs, a 52% increase in dollars from the year prior. Our contracts went to M/WBEs 14% of the time, up from 8% in the year prior,” said Deputy Mayor Richard Buery. “We are well on our way to awarding 30% of the value of our contracts to this important community of businesses.”
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