MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s Administration will tomorrow address the Nassau County Legislature at 4:00 pm to highlight key policies and engagement initiatives benefitting minority communities. 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 and minority owned businesses.
“When I took office, I promised to fight for the interests of all of our residents – not just for the few and powerful,” said County Executive Laura Curran. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done to create a new standard for inclusiveness in Nassau County’s business community. We have more work to do to open doors of opportunity for all our residents, and I will continue to work with our Legislature to build on the progress we’ve already made.”
Supporting Woman and Minority Owned Businesses (MWBEs)
Initiatives include the following:
- 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 135% overall boost in vendor registration, including a steady increase among MWBEs. Since January 1, 2019, 197 Minority Owned, 262 Women Owned and 58 Minority Women Owned vendors have registered.
- 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 the following:
- Advanced notice to the Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) of any formal competitive solicitation
- Flagging of any solicitation that includes MWBE goals (state or federal) and submission of any required utilization plan.
- More efficient identification of MWBEs and promotion of MWBE participation.
- Developing a claims application that will allow the County to capture the MWBE participation at the initiation of the claim for payment. This would have cost savings by eliminating the need for manual entry of the data.
- Leading the effort to secure a MWBE “Disparity Study,” funded in the recently approved Capital budget. The County’s last such study was in 2003, making it impossible to establish meaningful MWBE contracting goals.
- Serving as a key partner in Ascend Long Island, a partnership of Hofstra University's National Center for Suburban Studies, Center for Entrepreneurship and the Scott Skodnek Business Development Center and BOC Capital, a Community Development Finance Institution.
- The goal of Ascend Long Island is to provide vital resources in the areas of procurement, access to capital and access to markets to small business owners within a cluster of underserved communities within Nassau County known as "The Corridor" – Hempstead Village, Freeport Village, Roosevelt, and Uniondale.
The Office of Minority Affairs (OMA) has also stepped up activity to support the advancement of minority-owned businesses through event partnerships with key stakeholders in the region, including:
- Partnering with Port Authority of NY and NJ to help Nassau County’s MWBEs obtain certification in order to qualify for Port Authority’s supplier diversity program, which offers unique opportunities for qualified firms such as set-aside contracts and vendor price preferences on commodity and operations services.
- Promotion of the Nassau County Census Job Fair on April 22, 2018, a recruitment event for temporary jobs across the country in advance of Census 2020.
- Co-sponsoring a bidder conference in May with the Department of Public Works on the significant upcoming Family & Matrimonial Court Construction project.
The County Executive also emphasizes the need for a permanent Executive Director at the Office of Minority Affairs. “I urge the Minority Affairs Council to expedite efforts to recommend a qualified Executive Director to lead the office,” said County Executive Curran. “We want to keep building on the progress we’ve made.”
Office of Asian-American Affairs and Asian American Advisory Council
The Curran Administration has taken unprecedented steps to ensure inclusivity for Asian-Americans in Nassau’s government. At her State of the County last month, the County Executive took the historic step of calling for the formalization in County ordinance of the Asian American Advisory Board that she established last April, with its own Executive Director, office and budget.
The County Executive is pleased to see the Nassau County Legislature follow through on her call for a new County Office of Asian American Affairs. “I will be recommending Farrah Mozawalla, who has done outstanding work launching a platform for engagement with the Asian American community, as the new agency’s permanent Executive Director,” said County Executive Curran. “I will also recommend distinguished members of the Asian American Advisory Board to serve on the new Council.”
Office of Hispanic Affairs (CASA)
The previous Administration moved the main coordinating agency on behalf of the Hispanic population in Nassau County, to a decrepit County basement. In May, Nassau County is moving the agency to a new office more welcoming to our Hispanic community members. County Executive Curran is also asking the Legislature to re-name the agency the Office of Hispanic Affairs.
Under Executive Director Gabriela Castillo’s leadership, and with the support of a reinvigorated Advisory Board, this agency is working to be responsive and engaged with the community’s needs and concerns. Said County Executive Curran, “I applaud the work of Executive Director Gabriela Castillo and her efforts to ensure direct assistance and support for residents from our Hispanic community.”
Implementing Language Access
The Curran Administration has made important strides in ensuring that the 128,000 residents in Nassau County in need of language access are able to get assistance. County Executive Curran launched a County-wide Language Action Plan and appointed Rudy Carmenaty to lead the effort. Notably, the County Executive ordered all vital documents be translated into the 6 most common non-English languages and established a protocol for all County departments to have competent translation services available to residents with limited English proficiency.
This action is about more than just increasing Nassau’s cultural competency; a strong language access program is a lifeline to essential County services – ensuring families can secure food assistance, receive better medical care, and receive the same protections of our outstanding police force as those who speak English.