Michael J. Garner appointed as New York City’s first-ever chief business diversity officer

Photo: Isseu Diouf Campbell

 New York City Mayor Eric Adams appointed on February 16, 2023, Michael Garner as chief business diversity officer of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE).

In this role, Garner will support and elevate New York City’s M/WBEs by making the city a more equitable and inclusive business environment — a top priority of the Adams administration. Garner reports to First Deputy Mayor Wright.

Additionally, Mayor Adams signed Executive Order 26 to help address the “disparity within the disparity” in awarding city procurement dollars to M/WBEs. Although studies demonstrate that M/WBEs are underutilized in city contracting, certain ethnic and gender groups of M/WBEs remain more disproportionately underutilized than others.

Executive Order 26 focuses on increasing participation by Black American, Hispanic American, and Native-American M/WBEs and Asian-American WBEs — all groups that procurement inequities have persistently and negatively impacted.

Through Executive Order 26:
City agencies will be directed to use the non-competitive method to procure goods, services, and construction for amounts not exceeding $1 million, whenever practicable.

City agencies will be directed to limit the initial pool of solicited vendors for goods, services, and construction for amounts not exceeding $500,000 to Black American M/WBEs, Hispanic American M/WBEs, Native American M/WBEs, and/or Asian American WBEs, whenever practicable.

The chief business diversity officer, in consultation with MOCS and the New York City Department of Small Business Services, shall periodically review agency procurement data provided by MOCS and relevant research to:
(a) determine any changes in the ethnic or gender categories of M/WBEs to be classified as underutilized,
(b) to identify meaningful progress toward addressing overall disparities in procurement across the city, and
(c) to make any necessary adjustments to city policies based on such review.

The Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises was created to address historic disparities in city contracting and provide minority and women entrepreneurs increased opportunities to do business with New York City. The office is responsible for developing policy, enhancing coordination among city agencies, and providing oversight and accountability of the city’s M/WBE program.

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