As far as successful legislative sessions go, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team of diversity professionals, including Deputy Mayor Phillip Thompson and Senior Advisor and Director Jonnel Doris, closed out 2019’s legislative session with several major policy victories – many geared towards empowering certified small businesses.
From a bird’s eye view, New York City is making great strides to meet their self-imposed goal, of awarding 30% of the value of its contracts to Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) by 2021. In June 2019, the City hit its goal of certifying 9,000 MWBEs, doubling the MWBE certification rate since Mayor de Blasio took office. The City has also awarded over $11 billion in contracts to certified firms.
In early 2019, as the City looked for more tools to increase contract utilization and capacity, Doris, who serves as Director of the NYC MWBE Program and his legislative team sought for changes in the State law that impacted the City’s M/WBE Program. The State Legislature passed S6418A/A8407, a bill sponsored by State Senator Kevin Parker and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte, to give the City authority to increase economic opportunities for MWBEs. It’s important to note that regardless of the City’s size, they are still in need of State approval to make certain changes and expand their M/WBE Program.
Building Relationships and Rinding a Common Goal
When tasked with the goal of creating and passing a legislative agenda, Doris noted some of their tools for success: “We had a clear objective, the support of our executive leadership and the foundation of good relationships we built in Albany.” He added, “We were given the resources we needed to succeed by the Mayor, and the MWBE community really supported us in getting this bill passed.”