The city is still falling short of hiring companies owned by women and minorities, though it is doing a better job than in 2014, according to a report released by City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Wednesday.
The second annual report, called “Making the Grade: New York City Agency Report Card on Minority/Women Owned Businesses Enterprises (M/WBE),” gave the city an overall D+ rating — up from a D in 2014 — and “found that women and minorities continue to be largely shut out of New York’s $13.8 billion annual procurement budget,” according to Stringer’s office.
Just $725 million of that procurement budget is going to women and minority-owned businesses, Stringer’s office said. That means less than 2 percent of the city’s 46,000 vendors are owned by women or minorities.
“New York City has certified more than 4,100 vendors as official ‘Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises’ — but we’ve left 80 percent of them in the lurch when it comes to actually giving out contracts,” Stringer said in a statement. “We owe our city’s richly diverse business community more than just lip service — we need to deliver real spending to these very real businesses, and give them the support they need to succeed, create jobs, and help our city’s economy grow.”
The report found the city is doing a better job using firms owned by Asian and Hispanic owners, but businesses owned by black and women scored an F.
The report card also noted that two-thirds of agencies didn’t follow city regulations that require them to collect data on the subcontractors they hire.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spokesperson Ishanee Parikh said the administration is “making an unprecented effort to prioritize increasing awards to minority and women-owned business enterprises” that resulted in $1.6 billion in contracts to women and minority businesses last year. “These aren’t aspirational numbers, they are actual contracts the City has signed, sealed and delivered. But we know there’s more work to be done, and in order to further expand M/WBE contracting, we continue to seek state legislation to expand our legal authority to increase M/WBE participation.”
“The fact that African Americans and women lost some ground in 2015 should be an indication of the lack of seriousness with which city agencies are approaching minorities and women-owned businesses,” said Bertha Lewis, president and founder of the Black Institute, in a statement. “We should be more serious about spending public monies on M/WBE businesses who are hiring from our neighborhoods.”
Lewis, who challenged the city’s $1.6 billion figure, said the D+ grade is too generous.
Many of the 32 city agencies improved their scores from last year, including Housing Preservation and Development, which jumped to an A from a D. Several agencies slipped in the ranks, including the Department of Probation, which went to a D from a C, and Small Business Services, which went to an F from a D.