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.
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.