Category Archives: Government Procurement

Even California knows better

Several recent anti-business measures of note followed a similar path: a liberally-minded west coast jurisdiction (usually San Francisco or Seattle) passes the legislation at the local level, and it is then passed statewide, before eventually making its way to the New York City Council and our state Legislature. We saw this most recently with the $15 an hour minimum wage and Paid Family Leave.

One recent effort actually started with the federal government before trickling down to New York State. Earlier this year, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 162. The order requires, among other things, state contractors of any size to submit reports to the state on their pay practices, broken down according to the gender and racial makeup of their workforce. The Executive Order mandates that most contractors submit their data quarterly, with contractors and subcontractors on construction projects required to report monthly. While New York’s order was modeled after a similar program on the federal level, the federal order was less onerous and has been stayed under the current administration.

You may be wondering why we referenced the west coast. Well, just last week California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar piece of legislation for numerous reasons, including saying: “…it is unclear that the bill as written, given its ambiguous wording, will provide data that will meaningfully contribute to efforts to close the gender wage gap.” We would further note that the vetoed California legislation was far less onerous than New York’s, requiring that only employers with 500 or more employees submit said data, and that such data only be reported every other year.

New York’s mandate is far more broad and raises additional concerns, including:

– requiring pay data reports on a quarterly basis for most state contractors (all contracts valued at more than $25,000), and monthly for construction contracts valued at more than $100,000, compared to the annual reports required under the now-stayed federal EEO-1, and the biennial reports that would have been  required under the new California law.

– requiring pay data from all subcontractors as well, regardless of the value of subcontract, and it can require contractors to assure compliance by, or even mandate that they collect pay data from, their subcontractors.  This will put employers in the difficult position of having to submit confidential pay data to competitor firms.

– unlike the federal initiative,  which was adopted through a formal rulemaking process, or the California proposal that was passed by the state legislature, New York’s proposal was launched by an executive order issued with no notice, and with no input from affected employers.  Since it was not subject to the state Administrative Procedures Act, as a formal rulemaking would be, it had a limited 30 day public comment period, and did not require the state to do an impact assessment or consider alternative compliance measures for small business.

– while the federal EE0-1 required pay data to be reported by broad occupational categories, the state requires reports by one of more than 800 occupational titles, dramatically increasing compliance efforts and costs  (and, remember, under the New York State program, this is a monthly or quarterly, not annual, report.)

– the “granularity” of the state pay data reports will allow for the identification of individual’s pay level, as well as details about an employer’s general pay practice, but there is nothing in the Executive Order that provides legal protection against public disclosure of this confidential business and personal data.

To the administration’s credit, they have been willing to listen to concerns raised by The Business  Council and others – yet the order remains in place. We hope the recent action in California will prompt New York State officials to take a second look at EO 162 and make significant adjustments, or better yet, scrap the program entirely.

ReEnergy Black River Awarded Contract to Provide Power to Fort Drum

The U.S. Defense Logistics Agency has awarded a 20-year contract to Business Council member ReEnergy Black River. Under the terms of this renewable energy supply agreement, ReEnergy Black River will provide secure, renewable electricity to Fort Drum in Northern New York.

“This is good news not only for ReEnergy, but for Fort Drum and the North Country region. This will enhance energy security and position Fort Drum as a leader in meeting the military’s ambitious renewable energy goals,” said Larry D. Richardson, the chief executive officer of ReEnergy Holdings. “The ReEnergy team is proud to assist the U.S. Army in meeting its renewable energy goals, and looks forward to enhancing the North Country’s green energy economy. “

The Defense Logistics Agency, the entity that awarded the contract, provides the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, other federal agencies, and combined and allied forces with logistics, acquisition and technical services.

ReEnergy Black River submitted a proposal in Spring 2013 to the Defense Logistics Agency as part of a competitive procurement process to provide renewable power to Fort Drum, a U.S. Army installation that is home to 37,000 soldiers and family members and employs almost 4,000 civilians.

The federal government is increasing its demand for long-term renewable energy as a result of renewable goals established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, Executive Order 13423, and the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. In addition, the Army has established a goal to achieve 1 gigawatt of renewable energy by 2025.

This contract is the largest renewable energy project in the history of the U.S. Army.

MWBE Expos announced

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) Opportunities Expo events, hosted by New York State, in Western New York, the North Country, and Mid-Hudson regions. These one-stop-shopping workshops will directly connect certified firms with contractors and various New York State agencies to increase opportunities for business growth and job creation.

“If we’re going to rebuild the Empire State, we need to make sure the doors of economic opportunity are open to all,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Opportunities Expo is one of the many ways we’re connecting minority and women-owned businesses to up to $1 billion in contracting opportunities. I encourage businesses to take part in their nearest Expo and learn more about the benefits of doing business with the State of New York.”

In addition to providing the opportunity to meet procurement officers, the event will also feature workshops and panel discussions to deliver important information about New York State MWBE certification and business development resources, as well as basic government procurement training. The Expo will also include the New York State MWBE BOOT CAMP, which will bring together local resources available for MWBE firms, such as the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) network, Professional & Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) and the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) center network in the region.

MWBE Opportunities Expos, sponsored by Empire State Development’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business Development and local State partners, will be held as follows:

Western New York
Thursday, April 24, 2014
University of Buffalo – Allen Hall

North Country
Thursday, May 8, 2014
SUNY Plattsburgh – Warren Ballroom, Angell College Center

In addition, an Expo is scheduled to take place in the Mid-Hudson region this summer. For more information, please email expo@nysmwbeforum.org.

President, CEO & Commissioner of Empire State Development Kenneth Adams said, “The Opportunities Expo features a full day program of networking opportunities and panel discussions that will not only engage potential minority and women owned business owners but will also be helpful to actively certified firms. By continuing to focus our efforts on increasing the MWBE utilization in State contracts, we will help these small businesses grow and create jobs in our local communities which, in turn, will benefit all of New York State.”

More than a dozen State agencies and authorities involved in the region’s business community, through the Regional Councils and other initiatives, will participate in panel discussions and workshops including:

  • Capacity Builder Workshop – Leveraging MWBE Certification with Business Development support
  • Regional Council Awards, Round 2 & 3 – Opportunities for MWBE subcontractors
  • Review of “new” New York State Contract Reporter and New York State Contract Compliance System and what they mean to your business

For more information, visit Governor Cuomo’s website.