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New York Mayor signs executive order to strengthen minority business owners

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The Mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, has signed an executive order to expand and strengthen the minority and women-owned small business owners. ‬

While disclosing this in a statement on Tuesday July 28, 2020, Blasio stated that NYC could no longer wait on Washington to step up and help the City’s small businesses. ‬
According to the statement, on March 7, 2020, New York State Govemor, Andrew Cuomo, declared a State Disaster emergency for the entire NY to address the threat that COVID-19 poses to the health and welfare of residents and visitors. 

Blasio noted that studies by the National Bureau of Economic Research and other institutions revealed that the economic and health effects of COVID-19 have had a disproportionate impact on minority and business enterprises owned by women. 

He further stated that the impact has been exacerbated by inadequate access to federal financial assistance programs. 

"Legislation has been enacted to address the continuing effects of discrimination on businesses owned by minorities and women in the market where the City conducts its procurements. 

"There is increasing national awareness that minorities continue to be underrepresented," Blasio said in the statement. 

He disclosed that the City has therefore established and implemented reasonable procedures to secure the meaningful participation of MWBES. 

In order to increase MWBE utilization, the Mayor ordered that all City agencies shall whenever practicable, use their power under section 311) of the New York City Charter to procure goods, services and construction for amounts not exceeding S500,000 from businesses certified as MWBES. 

He added that no later than August 28, 2020, all agencies shall appoint a Chief Diversity Officer/Chief
MWBE Officer, with the appropriate experience and knowledge to oversee the agency's MWBE program. 

According to the statement, agency heads shall ensure that the Chief Diversity Officer/Chief MWBE Officer is empowered and supported by agency staff to facilitate the agency's meeting of its MWBE, diversity and inclusion goals.

"Agencies shall assess and reevaluate the MWBE participation goals included in existing contracts approaching renewal in light of the factors set forth in New York City Administrative Code 6-129600). 

"Based on such assessment, an agency shall consider whether to engage the contractor to negotiate the incorporation of a new or adjusted MWBE participation goals into the terms of the contract," the statement reads. 

"Where the agency elects not to engage in such negotiations or determines that such negotatrons were unsuccessful, the agency shall transmit documentation of its determination to the Director of the Mayors Office of Contract Services (MOCS), and may not proceed to renew the applicable contract without the approval ot MOCS, provided in consultation with the Mayor's Office of Minority and women-owned Business Enterprises.

"Prior to soliciting bids or proposals for capital projects valued at over twenty-five million dollars, including procurements necessary to respond to the ongoing State of Emergency, an agency shall submit the solicitations for review to the Director of MOCs," the statement adds. 

"The Director of MOCS, in consultation with the Citywide MWBE Director, shall make a determination as to whether it is practicable to divide the proposed contract into smaller contracts and whether agency-established MWBE participation goals are appropriate.

"All City agencies conducting procurements necessary to respond to the ongoing State of Emergency shall not categorically exempt emergency contracts from MWBE participation goals, and shall instead, to the extent practicable in light of the nature of the procurement, follow the procedures set forth in section 6-129(h) and (i) of the Administrative Code to set goals for the contract.

"Any City agency conducting a procurement that an agency head has determined in writing is necessary to respond to the ongoing State of Emergency must consider at least one quote from a business
certified as an MWBE before awarding the procurement, unless otherwise directed by the Director of MOCS.

"The Citywide MWBE Director, shall take all steps necessary, consistent with applicable law, to facilitate and promote participation by New York City Department of Education, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, and the New York City Housing Authority in the initiatives set forth in this order," the statement concludes. 

Blasio therefore stayed that nothing in this order is intended to create a private cause of action. 

He stated that the Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

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