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New executive order to support equitable procurement process

October 31, 2019

Economic Development

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Economic Development

Mayor Walsh's Executive Order will work to ensure the full participation of all enterprises in City spending, focused on small and local, minority-, women-, and veteran-owned small businesses.

Building on Boston's commitment to ensuring every resident and business in Boston has access to the same opportunities, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced an Executive Order designed to support equitable procurement in the City of Boston. This Executive Order builds on the 2016 Executive Order, and the Walsh Administration's policies and initiatives to address racial and economic disparities in order to expand opportunities for woman- and minority-owned businesses.

"As Mayor, my goal is to make sure that Boston is a city of opportunity for everyone. We need to harness our City's incredible economic growth so that it lifts everyone up," said Mayor Walsh. "To have a truly strong city, Boston's success must be shared by all. The City's own spending power is a key lever for increasing equity in business opportunities, and this Executive Order is the next step in ensuring we match our business practices with our values and goals."

Mayor Walsh's Executive Order will work to ensure the full participation of all enterprises in City spending, focused on small and local, minority-, women-, and veteran- owned small businesses. 

The Executive Order has three key aspects: 

  • Modernize a public-facing directory of small and local businesses including minority-owned businesses (MBEs), woman-owned businesses (WBEs), and veteran-owned small businesses. This directory will serve as a guide and resource for both departments within the City of Boston, and external businesses who manage procurement. 
  • Create a training program for City employees and departments who manage procurement as part of their roles.
  • Require each department to create a procurement plan that prioritizes equitable business practices. In addition, employees will be required to verify they have utilized the City's procurement directory when soliciting bids. 

In order to make procurement opportunities more accessible to a wider audience, the Department of Innovation and Technology and the Procurement Department will also update the City's procurement website so that businesses are able to view and filter all city contracts and opportunities.

"This Executive Order establishes a set of sound business practices in the City of Boston's procurement process that will increase transparency, accessibility, and efficiency across all departments and agencies," said John F. Barros, Chief of Economic Development. "As we create equitable procurement plans in the beginning of the budgeting process, while simultaneously modernizing our certified business registry, the City will be in a position to strategically market opportunities to an increased pool of businesses and do business with a diverse ecosystem of new businesses."

"As the Chief Procurement Officer for the City of Boston, I'm confident this Executive Order will give the City more tools to ensure we're using Boston's resources to empower all residents and businesses," said Emme Handy, Chief Financial Officer. "This Executive Order focuses on real solutions to better equip our departments and employees to achieve Boston's goals of an equitable and diverse procurement process."

"I support Mayor Walsh and the City of Boston's efforts to make the procurement process more inclusive and efficient for all, and to ultimately increase contracting with minority-owned local businesses. Contracting with the City has positively impacted my business, and I look forward to the implementation of such process changes resulting in more transparency and accountability, and opening more opportunities for City Fresh and other small minority companies," said Sheldon Lloyd, CEO, City Fresh Foods.

In coordination with the implementation of this Executive Order, Mayor Walsh also established the City of Boston's first-ever Supplier Diversity Advisory Council. A team of leaders in both the public and private sectors, this group brings expertise in supplier diversity best practices, technical assistance, community economic development, and equity programs to work alongside Mayor's Office staff and make policy and programming recommendations. Supplier Diversity Advisory Council members include:

  • Zamawa Arenas, Flowetik, LLC
  • Ingrid Beckles, Partners HealthCare
  • Tavares Brewington, NAACP Economic Development Committee Chair
  • JC Burton, Maven Construction
  • Marcela Merino Dominguez, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
  • Joseph Feaster, Assistant Secretary of A&F, Commonwealth of MA
  • Betty Francisco, Amplify Latinx
  • Peter Hurst, Greater New England Minority Supplier Diversity Council (GNEMSDC )
  • Segun Idowu, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts (BECMA)
  • Greg Janey, Janey Construction 
  • James Jennings, Tufts University
  • Beverley Johnson, Massachusetts Minority Contractor Association
  • Karen Kelleher, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • Joe Kriesberg, MA Coalition of CDCs
  • Glynn Lloyd, Business Equity Initiative, Eastern Bank
  • Wiliam McAvoy, MA Supplier Diversity Office 
  • Katherine Newman, UMass Boston
  • Shereen Shermak, Boston Women's Workforce Council 
  • Tanisha Sullivan, NAACP Boston
  • Kenn Turner, Massport
  • Travis Watson, Mass Housing Investment Corporation 
  • Flash Wiley, Flash H. Wiley, Esq
  • Beth Williams, BW Consulting 
  • Teri Williams, One United Bank
  • Steven Wright, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
  • Kimberly Zouzoua, Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE)

"The City of Boston is taking an important first step towards advancing equity and access for minority, women and veteran-owned businesses by implementing the Executive Order, and conducting a disparity study in City procurement. Black, Latino and women entrepreneurs are fueling small-business growth in the City of Boston, yet are often overlooked and left out of procurement opportunities. We thank Mayor Walsh and John Barros, Chief of Economic Development for recognizing the systemic barriers facing these local businesses and implementing processes, systems and reporting to provide more equitable contracting opportunities that help level the playing field," said Betty Francisco, Co-Founder, Amplify LatinX. 

This Executive Order is one of several steps towards creating a more equitable, transparent procurement process across City of Boston departments. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development is currently leading a Disparity Study in collaboration with BBC Research & Consulting. The Disparity Study will examine the participation of MWBEs in City contracting, measure the availability of MWBEs for City contracts and procurements, and assess marketplace conditions for MWBEs. 

Earlier this year, Mayor Walsh launched the Economic Development Center in January, establishing a new foundation to deploy small business resources into every neighborhood and across all industries, working to further strengthen professional relationships, and ensure a diverse vendor pipeline. The Equity and Inclusion series offers topical workshops to share knowledge about the City's procurement process, convenes top contracting departments and small businesses across the city in workshops for networking, training, and certification. The Pathways to City Contracting series hosted over 450 attendees across five workshops where staff walked attendees through the certification and bidding process, expanded the vendor pool, and created partnerships amongst businesses and city departments. The City Contracting Opportunity Fairs are designed for department buyers to meet local business owners, and foster fruitful relationships between the City of Boston and MBEs, WBEs, small and local, and veteran-owned small businesses. Targeted community-based info sessions for specific contracts have also resulted in MBEs and MWBEs landing contracts for the first time in landscaping, snow removal, and recycling cart delivery.

This summer, the City of Boston and Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) were selected to participate in the Citi Foundation and Living Cities' expansion of the City Accelerator initiative on Inclusive Procurement, an effort to increase participation and opportunities for MWBEs in City procurement. As one of ten cities participating, Boston will receive technical assistance, resources, and share best practices with cities across the country on improving procurement practices.

Mayor Walsh will participate in a ceremonial signing of the Executive Order next Friday during the inaugural meeting of the Supplier Diversity Advisory Council.