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New York City is letting down its minority- and women-owned businesses, according to a new report from Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.
A paltry 3.8% of city contracts were awarded to such businesses, known as MWBEs, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the study found.
Stringer gave the city a grade of “C-” on its job of sending business to MWBEs.
The picture was even worse when it came to Black-owned businesses, his office found.
Such businesses got just $6.8 million in city contracts — a decrease of about $2.8 million compared to the previous year — earning the city an “F” in that category. Meanwhile, the situation improved with Asians, Hispanics and women, according to Stringer’s office.
“As this administration prepares to leave office, it is clear that the city, from the next mayor and comptroller to the next City Council, have abundant opportunities to address the systemic inequities experienced by communities of color especially as we continue to rebuild our economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” the comptroller said in a statement.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, who leaves office at the end of the year due to term limits, previously announced the creation of a “chief MWBE officer” at every city agency. The role was meant to “ensure agencies apply creative thinking and executive authority to increase MWBE participation and realize each agency’s diversity and inclusion goals,” de Blasio said in August 2020.
The city has a long way to go, according to Stringer, who’s also leaving office at the end of the year.
He called on citywide elected officials to adopt the “Rooney Rule,” which originated in the NFL, and interview women and people of color for top leadership jobs.
Stringer, who lost this year’s Democratic mayoral primary, also called on the next mayor to create a plan to award more contracts to MWBEs.
The City Council should take similar steps, he said.
“There is still room for significant improvement,” the comptroller stated.