Letters November 2008

M/WBE Contracts

Dear Editor:
It has come to my attention that in the April 2007 issue of TNJ you ran an article entitled ?Design, Building & Construction: Is N.Y.C.?s new law helping M/WBEs.?? In that article, you write: ?Kenneth Neal, director of the office of Civil Rights for New York City?s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, says Connerly should redirect his focus. ?The issue should be why are all non-small businesses getting 90 percent of all the contracts and M/WBEs getting less than 10 percent,? Neal says. ?Primary contracts are going to friends and connections and not being bid.?

I have no issue with the majority of the article, but I do differ with the statement attributed to me: ?Primary contracts are going to friends and connections and not being bid.? The statement as written is a mis-characterization of what was said. I said that people generally do business with people they know. My comment was a standalone comment and did not reference how public authorities such as the MTA conduct business.

I further stated that by law the MTA and other public authorities are required to competitively bid its projects. I am aware that the article was published more than a year ago, but I would appreciate it if you would provide a clarification regarding the article in a future issue of TNJ.?

Kenneth Neal, director
Office of Civil Rights,
M.T.A., New York City

Editor?s Response:

TNJ stands by its reporting of Mr. Neal?s statement that primary contracts are being awarded to friends and connections and not being properly bid. Our article in no way indicates that the statement was directed toward a particular entity. Rather, the context in which it appears suggests precisely as Mr. Neal emphasizes above: that people are doing business with people they know.