As part of her Administration’s continued efforts to open doors and create opportunities for all residents to participate in County government, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced a “Request for Expressions of Interest” (RFEI) as a precursor to a full Request for Proposals (RFP) for a Disparity Study and Consultant Services which the County intends to issue later this summer.
Thanks to a concerted push by County Executive Curran and with bipartisan Legislative support, Nassau County’s capital budget provided $500K for a Disparity Study to gather data about the availability and utilization of Minority, Woman, and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (MWBEs/SDVOBs) in the County. The RFEI seeks input from governmental partners, community stakeholders and experts on capacity building in the crafting of the County’s RFP.
Nassau County will hold an information session for interested parties on Friday June 28, 2019 from 10:00-11:30 am (details to be posted on Friday June 21st). RFEI responses of up to 5 pages will be due July 19, 2019. The County will incorporate comments from the RFEI process into its final RFP.
“When it comes to doing business with Nassau County, we are setting a new standard of transparency and inclusion,” said County Executive Laura Curran. “However, we still have so much more potential to tap into, and this effort will help Nassau get the data we need to set meaningful participation goals and help build capacity amongst our minority, women and service-disabled veteran businesses.
“We crafted our draft RFP in a forward-looking way, with an emphasis on supporting participation in County procurements as well as county-wide opportunities with our municipal subdivisions,” said Evlyn Tsimis, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development.“But rather than simply issue an RFP to hire a consultant, we want to first get input from a wide array of experts and stakeholders to make sure we get robust participation in the effort and that we get it right.”
“We have an estimated 40,000 minority-owned businesses in the County, but we don’t have comprehensive information on what goods and services they can offer, or how they are faring in neighboring markets,” said Dr. Regina Williams, Acting Executive Director of the Office of Minority Affairs. “This is a vital step Nassau County is taking to identify where we are falling short and provide a roadmap for positioning our MWBE/SDVOB businesses for greater success in winning County contracts.”
As outlined in the RFEI, the primary objectives of the draft Disparity Study and Consultant Services contract are to:
- determine the extent to which there exists a disparity between the availability of qualified MWBEs and SDVOBs and their utilization by County agencies.
- determine whether County contracts should be subject to race, gender and or service-disabled veteran status conscious remedial programs supported by State law.
- establish the basis by which the County will determine overall Countywide goals for the participation of MWBEs and SDVOBs in County contracts.
- gather insight concerning where the County is falling short in making maximum use of MWBE/SDVOBs; suggestions on ways to incubate these businesses; review of the current County MWBE/SDVOB program (including any applicable certification requirements) and strategies for better matching capacity with demand.
- better understand the ability of MWBE/SDVOBs to be successful within the County’s shared services initiative where goods and/or services are provided through County or municipal subdivision procurements.
The Curran Administration has taken on a comprehensive effort to establish systems and protocols to promote transparency, fairness, inclusion in County contracting processes, and support for women, minority, and veteran owned businesses. Key Administration initiatives to date include:
- Eliminating a $125 fee for vendors seeking to do business with Nassau County. The fee was a barrier to entry for MWBEs since it had to be paid even before a potential vendor could view available opportunities. Since elimination of the fee, the County has seen a 200% overall boost in vendor registration, including a steady increase among MWBEs.
- Launching a platform in August 2018 to ensure that all departments comply with certain policies regarding MWBE. The new Solicitation Tracking System (STS), allows for:
- Stepped up efforts by the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) to support minority-owned businesses through event partnerships, including a supplier diversity program with the Port Authority of NY and NJ; promotion of a recruitment event in connection with the Nassau County Census Count; and co-sponsoring a bidder conference with the Department of Public Works on the Family & Matrimonial Court Construction project.
The County Executive has also spearheaded efforts to be inclusive of all minority populations by establishing the first Office of Asian American Affairs and revitalizing the Office of Hispanic Affairs (formerly known as “CASA”).