A New Charter to Confront New Challenges

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To the Charter Revision Commission 2019:

The proposal to amend the City Charter to create a Chief Diversity Officer in City Hall and each City agency is critical to building a stronger, more inclusive city, and we hope that it will be on the ballot in November 2019.

While our city’s economy has grown steadily in recent years, too many New Yorkers—particularly women and people of color—continue to struggle in the face of persistent economic barriers including wealth inequality, unequal pay, and limited access to good jobs.

The City possesses a powerful tool to address these challenges as a purchaser of goods and services. But the recently released Making the Grade report from Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office documented that in fiscal year 2018, the City awarded only 5.5 percent of all contracts to firms owned by women and minorities (M/WBEs) and 80 percent of the certified M/WBEs did not receive payments from the City.

See the report and video here

While the City has made progress in recent years and set updated goals for the program, new solutions are needed to truly drive change.

That’s why we believe the Charter Revision Commission 2019 should ask voters to approve reforms to the City Charter that would create a Chief Diversity Officer in City Hall and each City agency. Collectively, the Chief Diversity Officers would be responsible for strengthening the City’s M/WBE program, helping the City attract and retain diverse talent, and bringing much needed focus to issues of wage inequality and employment disparities that impact women and people of color in local government. We know that this model works because where Chief Diversity Officers have been hired already (for example at the Department of Design and Construction and the Comptroller’s Office), agency performance has dramatically improved.

We are confident that enshrining the position of a Chief Diversity Officer in the City Charter would improve our city and we hope that you will put this proposal to voters in November 2019.

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