I was honored to moderate a panel at Governor Cuomo’s New York State MWBE Forum on October 5th. Our session, “The ABC’s of Discretionary Purchasing,” had five state agency and public authority officials describing how each uses discretionary purchasing to meet their MWBE goals. Our session highlighted numerous opportunities for MWBE firms wanting to do business in New York.
I was so pleased to be quoted in the recent issue of the Times Union magazine, Women@Work. Reporter Alicia Briggs writes about the rising number of female-owned firms in New York’s Capital Region, a business segment that employs some 20,000 employees.
As most of our readers know, Bob Samson was appointed as the State’s Chief Information Officer in July 2017 and he’s already made significant strides in moving forward with the ITS “transformation journey.” Samson, a former IBM Senior Manager, took over the leadership of ITS after his predecessor, Maggie Miller, left the Office in February 2017.
Samson quickly branded his priorities for this service organization, “Innovation that Matters for All New Yorkers,” and has rolled out several staff changes, including naming his top leadership team.
We wish Bob and his new team great success.
Late Wednesday night, June 21st, the State Legislature adjourned for the year. The most contentious issue, mayoral control of New York City’s schools, was not resolved, leaving a looming question mark over who controls the nation’s largest school district.
The Senate and the Assembly, along with New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo, ended the session pointing fingers and blaming one another for the impasse. The issue of mayoral control got tied up with other legislative priorities including a cap on Charter Schools and the extension of sales tax in most upstate counties.
Nor did the Legislature enact any of the sweeping changes to the procurement process. Initially advocated by the Governor, much of that debate on procurement reform centered on whether to increase the authority of the State Comptroller’s office to review certain agency contracts.
Two bills did pass both Houses and will await the Governor’s approval: legislation creating a state information technology innovation center to develop and demonstrate technology solutions; and a “New York Buy American Act,” for the iron, steel and concrete used in certain public works construction projects.
The Cuomo Administration is seeking comments on a new Executive Order that requires State contractors to submit payroll information broken down by race and gender. First issued by Governor Cuomo in January 2017, Executive Order 161 is the Administration’s attempt to stem pay discrimination, especially against women and “to prohibit gender based pay discrimination and (to) require equal pay for equal work. “
Several business groups have voiced their concern to the Governor and his staff about the “overly-burdensome” directive and the proposed regulations. Comments are due by June 30th.
As part of this year’s Executive Budget, Governor Cuomo proposed a series of procurement “reforms,” however, all but one of them was dropped during budget negotiations. The enacted budget did extend the sunset date for the State’s Minority and Women Business Enterprise (MWBE) Program until April 15, 2018 and also provided that the program will continue until the end of 2018 if a required statewide disparity study is completed and delivered to the Governor and the Legislature by June 30th.
The Governor’s proposals, provisions including creating a Chief Procurement Officer, a Buy American preference for American made products in construction and other contracts, Inspectors General to oversee procurement in several public authorities and the prohibition of contributions by vendors bidding on contracts, were dropped from the budget during negotiations with the Senate and Assembly.
Procurement reform, including a number of proposals from State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, is likely to be deliberated in the final weeks of this year’s legislative session.