Another Audit Day
October 8th, 2009

Take two, or three or ten (I lost count).

Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson released another audit from his comptroller’s office this morning, slamming the administration for failing to secure contracts for minority and women owned businesses. This is the second audit this week that criticizes the administration’s fiscal policies, in what some say has become a politically-motivated trend for Thompson to use his office in the mayoral race.

Thompson said that in fiscal year 2008 the city had more than $369 million in prime contracts with a goal to spend nearly $108 million with women and minority owned businesses. According to Thompson, the city spent $14,882,561 on minority and women owned businesses — about 4 percent of all of the city’s prime contracts. The mayor signed legislation in 2005 to boost the number of women and minority owned businesses with city contracts. Thompson said this morning that the administration has shown “indifference” to that law.

“The agency has demonstrated a stunning pattern of inaction,” Thompson said in front of the City Hall steps this morning regarding the Department of Small Business Services. “We found that SBS was sitting on its hands.”

Just last month, the Bloomberg administration said it had spent more than $1 billion with minority and women owned businesses since fiscal year 2007. Thompson alleges the vast majority of that goes to businesses that were not targeted by the city’s 2005 program. His office said certain minority businesses don’t have issues getting certain contracts. The focus of the law was to get minority firms typically overlooked in certain fields city contracts.

As Thompson berated the administration this morning (the precursor to a term limits rally the candidate held immediately after), Bloomberg’s campaign office announced another endorsement. This time it was from a women and minority owned business advocate: Maria Alvarez Castro, the president of the Manhattan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Ive worked closely with Mayor Bloomberg to ensure that women and minority-owned businesses have been afforded the opportunity to have an equal chance to pursue government contracts, said Castro in a press release. The mayor has supported emerging business enterprises like no other mayor has ever done before. Because of the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program, members of my chamber of commerce have been able to succeed in this challenging economy.

The mayor’s announcement goes on to say the number of minority and women-owned firms certified to do business in the city is on the rise, from 1,604 at the end of fiscal year 2008 to 2,200 in fiscal year 2009.

The handling of the M/WBE program by the administration has been under fire since its creation.

By on October 8, 2009, 12:43 pm
In category: City Hall,Civil Rights,Community Development,Economy,Governing,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “Another Audit Day”

  1. Roger Clegg, Ctr for Equal Opportunity Says:
    October 9th, 2009 at 8:00 am

    Why do race, ethnicity, and sex need to be considered at all in deciding who gets awarded a contract? It’s fine to make sure contracting programs are open to all, that bidding opportunities are widely publicized beforehand, and that no one gets discriminated against because of skin color, national origin, or sex. But that means no preferences because of skin color, etc. either–whether it’s labeled a “set-aside,” a “quota,” or a “goal,” since they all end up amounting to the same thing. Such discrimination is unfair and divisive; it costs the taxpayers money to award a contract to someone other than the lowest bidder; and it’s almost always illegalindeed, unconstitutionalto boot (see 42 U.S.C. section 1981 and comments we submitted to the Colorado DOT here: ). Those who insist on engaging in such discrimination deserve to be sued, and they will lose.

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