As part of a bi-county effort to increase opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (“MWBE/SDVOBs”) in County contracting, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone have announced that they’ve selected a vendor to pursue a disparity study of MWBEs and SDVOBs as part of a unique shared services arrangement. Following a comprehensive RFP process, which included an evaluation and selection committee made up of officials from both counties, highly regarded national expert Mason Tillman Associates, LTD (“Mason Tillman”) has been selected to conduct the study. The study is designed to inform a comprehensive review of MWBE/SDVOB utilization in County procurements across the region. The contract with the vendor was unanimously approved by the Nassau County Legislature yesterday. Nassau will seek final approval from NIFA. Suffolk County has executed its contract and has held its initial kickoff meeting with Mason Tillman and County Commissioners and Department heads.
“We’ve introduced much-needed transparency, fairness, and inclusion to the County contracting processes and I am proud of the significant progress my Administration has made thus far. As we work to revive our local economy, this collaborative and cost effective study will help us learn how we can do even better and ensure minority, women, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses are positioned to thrive on Long Island and participate in County contracting,” said County Executive Curran.
“This joint study underscores the importance of ensuring that Suffolk County’s contracting process is fair, inclusive, and accessible to a diverse range of businesses, said County Executive Steve Bellone. “The results of this comprehensive analysis will inform our ongoing efforts to address any disparities highlighted by the analysis and determine best practices to increase access for women, minority, and service-disabled veteran-owned businesses.”
“My colleagues in the Minority Caucus and I have advocated strongly for a disparity study because it will provide regional decision-makers with the data they need to implement policies that promote fair access to procurement opportunities for minority and women-owned business enterprises,” said Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages, Ranking Member of the Legislature’s Minority Affairs Committee. “While Nassau County has already made important progress, there is still much more work to do, and I thank County Executive Curran for heeding our call to embark upon this long-awaited effort to promote regional economic justice.”
The Disparity Study and Consultant Services Contract is intended to offer both counties tremendous insight into the categories of goods and services being offered by MWBE/SDVOBs in the region, identify any significant disparities in MWBE/SDVOB participation in the counties’ contracting, form the basis for meaningful County contracting goals and improve on-going efforts to develop MWBE/SDVOB capacity and participation. Suffolk County has executed its contract and has held its initial kickoff meeting with Mason Tillman and County Commissioners and Department heads.
Suffolk Deputy County Executive Vanessa Baird-Streeter and Nassau County Office of Minority Affairs Executive Director Lionel Chitty will spearhead the effort with Mason Tillman. The counties anticipate an active process which will involve multiple agencies in data collection, review of related county laws, policies and procedures and a robust regional market analysis. There will be monthly progress reports and deliverables, with a draft Disparity Study expected to be issued in the first quarter of 2022.
Due to the regional nature of business opportunities on Long Island and in order to leverage the combined expenditure, Nassau and Suffolk will share the cost of the consultant services while advancing the work collaboratively. The combined county contracts total just under $1 million, saving each County about $100,000 based on proposers’ bids.