City Council pledges to improve MWBE legislation
CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 1/11/2013, 1:42 p.m.
The City Council is in the process of enhancing MWBE legislation passed in 2005, which will amend the New York City charter and the administrative code of New York. The new legislation is expected to give more opportunities to minority- and women-owned business enterprises and emerging businesses.
"Today marks a step towards creating a productive business environment for MWBEs in New York City. I am extremely proud to be co-sponsoring legislation with [City Council] Speaker [Christine] Quinn and several of my colleagues that will introduce real, beneficial reforms to existing laws regarding how the city does business with MWBEs," said Council Member Inez E. Dickens.
The bill's key components include eliminating the current $1 million cap on contracts in the MWBE program and establishing a system of accountability that will work like CompStat, the New York City Police Department's management program where statistics are compiled and analyzed.
The law established goals for increasing the number of city contracts awarded to MWBEs. While it was a step in the right direction, it has become clear that more must be done to ensure that minorities and women are fairly represented in city procurement.
"I have been a staunch advocate for the increased inclusion of MWBEs in the procurement and contracting processes that involve our city agencies," Dickens said. "At a time when many communities suffer from persistent unemployment, we need to take steps that will ensure that some of the most vulnerable small businesses are able to thrive and provide jobs to our constituents."
Last week at a press conference on the steps of City Hall, several council members pledged to continue their support to improve opportunities for MWBEs. In 2005, the City Council passed Local Law 129, which helped level the playing field for minorities and women who have contracts with the city.
"This new MWBE legislation will significantly expand business opportunities for the growing number of entrepreneurs in Queens and across the city," said Council Member Leroy Comrie. "We look forward to ensuring the city effectively communicates to every possible entity that is doing business with the city so that we continue to grow our local economy and make the city a more viable economic facilitator of minority- and women-owned businesses."
City Council Member Robert Jackson also reaffirmed his pledge to support the legislation. Several Black-owned small businesses have closed over the last several months, particularly in Upper Manhattan.
"Minority- and women-owned businesses are the backbone of our society," Jackson said. "MWBEs can generate billions in revenue vital to the city. It is important that we continue to support these small businesses by advocating for laws that protect them and ensure their advancement and future success."