Mayor Adams Announces Recommendations That Will Save Taxpayers Tens of Millions of Dollars Each Year
Jan 05, 2023 - 07:54 AM
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced a comprehensive set of reforms that, together, will cut years off the city’s capital project delivery process and save New York City taxpayers tens of millions of dollars every year. The Capital Process Reform Task Force, formed by Mayor Adams in April and led by First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, is comprised of a group of leaders representing the construction industry, labor, and Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs) and tasked with undertaking a top-down review of the city’s capital process and recommending reforms, from project initiation to closeout. The task force was managed by the Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning and supported by multiple city agencies that initiate and manage capital projects, as well as the Comptroller’s Office and agencies that oversee the procurement and contractual elements of capital construction. The task force released a set of 17 initial recommendations in October and released, today, a year-end report with an additional 22 recommendations. Taken together, these 39 recommendations will cut years off the process for delivering public works, helping to save valuable taxpayer dollars in the process.
“There is a covenant between government and the people of our city: New Yorkers pay taxes, and they expect that we deliver for them. For far too long, we have betrayed taxpayers when it comes to building public infrastructure,” said Mayor Adams. “Now is the time to overhaul the slow and expensive process we go through to build public facilities so we can ‘Get Stuff Done’ for all New Yorkers — reconstructing streets, repairing bridges, bringing water to people’s homes, creating parks and libraries, and more. I am proud that our administration is advancing these recommendations today and look forward to advocating for needed changes at the state level in the upcoming session in Albany.”
The task force will champion a nine-part state legislative package to modernize the procurement process, mitigate insurance barriers faced by M/WBEs, increase the city’s opportunities to grow M/WBE capacity, and give the city access to procurement and project delivery tools that were successful during the COVID-19 emergency and that other public entities can already use. The package also includes a once-in-a-generation change to the structure of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC), the city’s construction agency. Specifically, the legislation would establish DDC as a public authority, similar to other large public construction entities in New York state. As a public authority, DDC will have reduced administrative burdens, streamlined procurement processes, and access to faster, cheaper, and more varied modes of project delivery critical to addressing the resiliency and sustainability challenges of our aging infrastructure.
The task force also scrutinized the city’s internal processes, and the reforms outlined in the report will improve scoping and planning, cut down project initiation time, remove redundant reviews from procurement, increase M/WBE participation, manage projects more effectively, cut down on change orders, standardize and streamline invoicing and payment, improve the delivery of projects for libraries and cultural institutions, and support implementation of a citywide capital project tracker mandated by Local Law 37 of 2020.
The task force will continue its work in 2023, focusing on recommending additional reforms and executing a strategic plan to ensure passage of the nine-part state legislative package.
“I have devoted my career to bringing New Yorkers the best public assets possible, but the existing capital process has not made it easy,” said First Deputy Mayor Grillo. “The task force’s 39 recommendations represent a real reform agenda, backed by the experts in the industry, and I am confident that the support of these leaders with different vantage points will translate into achieving real change.”
“These recommendations represent a full year of digging into the best policies and practices from leaders across the design and construction industry,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “I am excited to work with our partners in Albany to get New York City the necessary tools to build quality, on-budget, and innovative projects to benefit all New Yorkers.”
“New York City has led in the past with bold, public infrastructure investments during uncertain times, and we must do so again,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “Our ability to deliver on-time and on-budget capital projects will be critical for an inclusive economic recovery, for public health, safety, and mobility, and especially for a resilient future in the face of climate change. I am thankful to Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Grillo for making capital projects reform a real priority and for doing so in the spirit of collaboration. I look forward to continuing to work with you and with the state Legislature to deliver on these reforms. New York City’s infrastructure is the foundation for our shared thriving, and it will take all hands to build the future of our city efficiently and effectively.”
“As DDC takes on more and more responsibility, including billions of dollars in urgent coastal resiliency and green infrastructure programs, the task force’s recommendation to create a streamlined design and construction authority couldn’t come at a better time. A new design and construction authority will save precious time and money and restore New Yorkers’ faith in ‘Getting Stuff Done,’” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley. “Emergency events, like our incredible COVID response, have allowed our talented team to throw out the old rulebook and do things innovatively, while still protecting public funds and reaching record levels of M/WBE participation. We can continue to find ways to improve the current system, but ultimately it would be a lost opportunity not to pass legislation that will fast-track so many urgent infrastructure priorities and close the book on an outdated contracting system that hasn’t served the city well for decades.”
“Taxpayers are not served well by the labyrinth that is the city’s capital process,” said Mayor’s Office of Policy and Planning Director Sherif Soliman. “Cracking the code for a well-functioning process to deliver public assets was the charge of this talented group of experts, and they delivered. The recommendations they advanced will chart a course for high-quality capital project delivery, and I am grateful for the expertise and time they have lent to the reform effort.”
“With a streamlined capital process, we will be able to provide New Yorkers access to safe green spaces faster and more efficiently,” said New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “We’re excited to implement these recommendations and are grateful to this administration, our colleagues, and the experts on the task force for their work on this important issue.”
“These reforms will be essential in making New York City more resilient to extreme weather and will allow DEP to speed up critical capital projects — a game-changer for our capacity to maintain and improve infrastructure in the face of our changing climate,” said Chief Climate Officer and New York City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Rohit T. Aggarwala. “I want to thank Mayor Adams, First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, and the members of the task force that helped develop these reforms to improve our capital project delivery process.”
“The capital projects undertaken by local government represent our resilience, our creativity, the future physical environment of our city, and, most importantly, the future well-being of our people. But for far too long, we have allowed the build-up of well-intentioned regulations, policies, and processes without taking a holistic account of their collective impact on the city’s ability to deliver capital projects effectively,” said Chief Procurement Officer and Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) Director Lisa M. Flores. “Under the tremendous leadership of First Deputy Mayor Grillo, this task force has lent its significant expertise and effort to developing a thoughtful list of recommendations to reform this process, and I am excited to work with the group we’ve brought together to make them a reality.”
The Capital Process Reform Task Force members are:
• Richard Browne, managing partner, Sterling Project Development Group
• Michael A. Capasso, CEO and president, C.A.C. Industries, Inc.
• Ali Chaudhry, senior vice president and chief of development and government relations, AECOM
• Louis Coletti, president and CEO, Building Trades Employers’ Association
• Raquel Diaz, public sector area manager, Gilbane Building Company
• Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff, chair, MBE Leadership Summit
• John T. Evers, president and CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
• Alaina Gilligo, head of strategic partnerships, Gilbane Building Company
• Shari C. Hyman, vice president for public affairs, Turner Construction Company
• Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York
• Sam Padilla, president, Padilla Construction Services, Inc.
• Taylor Palmer, government relations manager, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York
• Nayan Parikh, president, New York Tri-State Chapter of National Association of Minority Contractors
• Benjamin Prosky, executive director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and The Center for Architecture
• Arthur Rubinstein, president, Skyline Steel Corp., and chair, Subcontractors Trade Association Legislative Committee
• Gus Sanoulis, vice president of construction, Con Edison
• Dan Sawh, owner and president, Haydan Consultants Inc.
• Dan Symon, associate partner, Gartner, and former director, MOCS
• Robert G. Wessels, executive director, The General Contractors Association of New York
“The release of the Capital Process Reform Task Force Report is a positive signal that the City of New York is meaningfully and positively transforming the way it plans, procures, and executes capital projects,” said Richard Browne, managing partner, Sterling Project Development Group. “The initiatives set forth in the report draw upon best practices from both the private and public sectors and will enable agencies as well as vendors to embark on a new, streamlined process that will create better efficiencies throughout the course of a project. I am honored to be a part of the effort.”
“It is an honor for AECOM to be a part of this auspicious group, working together to build back New York stronger than ever,” said Ali Chaudhry, senior vice president and chief of development and government relations, AECOM. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, for your leadership and partnership with our industry that serves as the backbone of New York’s economic prosperity.”
“I am honored to serve the City of New York improving the capital reform process,” said Michael A. Capasso, CEO and president, C.A.C. Industries, Inc. “Initiatives are being put in place to make it easier for all parties involved in government work to expedite projects to the benefit of all.”
“This historic effort has led to recommendations, which if approved by the state Legislature will result in millions of dollars in reduced construction costs that will benefit taxpayers and increase competition for city projects,” said Louis Coletti, president and CEO, Building Trades Employers’ Association.
“This report reflects months of the collective efforts, by a coalition of industry leaders, to transform the municipal construction process and reduce costs, create jobs inclusively, and streamline the timeline for project development,” said Reverend Jacques Andre DeGraff, chair, MBE Leadership Summit. “It marks the first phase of a major restructuring of the way we will build in New York City. In short, it represents an idea whose time has come.”
“These recommendations are important steps towards faster and smarter infrastructure funding and procurement, and we applaud the Adams administration for undertaking them,” said John Evers, President and CEO, American Council of Engineering Companies of New York. “We look forward to working with the task force on additional reforms that will support the engineering and design community.”
“We have been honored to work closely with city leaders in an effort to make the city’s capital process more efficient, cost-effective, and inclusive,” said Raquel Diaz, public sector area manager; and Alaina Gilligo, head of strategic patnerships, Gilbane Building Company. “We applaud the Adams administration for its latest round of reforms to move the city forward while deepening its commitment to economic growth and opportunity.”
“New Yorkers across the board will benefit from the close coordination and accelerated timelines on capital projects across the city that these recommendations will achieve,” said Shari C. Hyman, vice president of public affairs, Turner Construction Company. “I congratulate Mayor Adams, his team, and my industry colleagues for their work on this task force, and I look forward to working together to ensure these reforms are enacted.”
“As we head into 2023, it is crucial that New York City continue to adequately invest in public works and development projects that stimulate our economy and create thousands of good-paying union jobs and career opportunities for hard-working New Yorkers,” said Gary LaBarbera, president, Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “It is clear that Mayor Adams recognizes the importance of properly supporting these initiatives and has made improving city construction processes a priority for the upcoming year. We applaud him for his continued commitment to successfully driving development projects forward and are eager to work with him to provide a skilled and dedicated workforce of tradesmen and tradeswomen who will continue to be at the forefront of building New York back better.”
“As president of Padilla Construction Services and treasurer of the National Hispanic Business Group, we welcomed the challenge posed by Mayor Eric Adams and First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo to be a part of the Capital Process Reform Task Force,” said Sam Padilla, president, Padilla Construction Services, Inc. “The mayor challenged us to ‘Get Stuff Done,’ and do more with our tax dollars, while also addressing procurement diversity in New York City. This was the charter of the task force, and we were able to identify 39 recommendations which, if implemented, will have a far-reaching effect on New York’s economy. We now need the support of our legislative leaders and Governor Kathy Hochul to help us implement these initiatives.”
“Reforming capital project delivery has been an ongoing goal for the National Association of Minority Contractors, given the often-misunderstood and downplayed barriers to inclusive procurement for M/WBEs,” said Nayan Parikh, president, New York Tri-State Chapter of National Association of Minority Contractors. “Our final recommendations are a crucial first step toward a systems overhaul for diversity, equity, and inclusion long-term.”
“It has been an honor to serve on the Capital Process Reform Task Force, representing the architectural profession and their integral role in designing a more equitable and beautiful New York City,” said Benjamin Prosky, executive director, American Institute of Architects New York Chapter and The Center for Architecture. “The task force, made up of colleagues from the private sector and government agencies alike, has put forward a transformative plan to deliver much-needed improvements to New York City’s physical infrastructure. It is now time to rally support for this plan so these necessary procedural changes can be implemented and so that all New Yorkers can benefit from the efficiencies and innovations this plan will bring forth.”
“I am pleased to have participated in the work of the task force, which has so successfully met the mayor’s directive of ‘Get Stuff Done,’ said Arthur Rubinstein, president, Skyline Steel Corp.; and chair, Subcontractors Trade Association Legislative Committee. “These recommendations will result in an enthusiastic response from the construction and design communities and will benefit all New Yorkers.”
“Con Edison is appreciative of being included in the Capital Process Reform Task Force’s important work,” said Gus Sanoulis, vice president of construction, Con Edison. “We support Mayor Adams’ efforts to modernize this process to better serve New Yorkers.”
“As the first year of the Adams administration comes to a close, the work of this task force is truly foundational, and the positive impacts will be felt by New Yorkers in 2023 and beyond,” said Dan Sawh, owner and president, Haydan Consultants Inc. “I am proud to be a part of an amazing team of New York City leaders who are dedicated to developing the pathway for New York City’s infrastructure future to be built timely, cost effectively, equitably, and inclusively.”
“Year 1 of the Capital Reform Task Force has provided a solid foundation for the transformative efforts we need as a city,” said Dan Symon, managing partner, Gartner; and former director, MOCS. “Broader attention and action are required now, and I look forward to supporting city leadership as we capitalize on this momentum in 2023.”
“The General Contractors Association of New York commends the Capital Process Reform Task Force for proposing some of the most thoughtful changes to the way the city builds capital projects in decades,” said Robert G. Wessels, executive director, The General Contractors Association of New York. “It addresses many items of critical importance to our members, from streamlining the procurement and change order processes and eliminating administrative redundancies, to providing pre-certified lists of M/WBEs. Taken together, they will help deliver projects more quickly and efficiently, while simultaneously saving money for New York taxpayers.”
“New York City grew by more than 600,000 people in the last decade, and more New Yorkers means we need more parks, schools, streets and sidewalks,” said New York City Councilmember Shekar Krishnan. “We must meet this new demand with new, efficient city services, including efficient construction. We commend the Department of Design and Construction, Mayor Adams, and the Capital Reform Task Force for proposing these important next steps to build the city that New Yorkers deserve.”
“Our capital construction process has been broken for decades,” said New York City Councilmember Joseph Borelli. “The list of critical projects for Staten Island continues to pile up and languish, including the widening of Arthur Kill Road and the widening of Amboy Road in Eltingville. We must implement these changes at the city level immediately and pressure the state Legislature to make the broader reforms during this year’s session. We can’t continue letting these projects die the death of a thousand cuts.”
“The task force’s much-needed look at the laws, regulations, and — importantly — the internal processes that slow down capital project delivery is welcome,” said Andrew Rein, president, Citizens Budget Commission. “The report recommends important administrative changes to shorten the time needed to approve change orders and track how long it takes to approve and pay invoices, which should be implemented quickly to help rectify some of the long-standing problems with capital project management and vendor payment. Positive proposed state policy changes to modernize the bidding process and to authorize alternative delivery methods also would, if enacted, improve the speed and cost of capital projects.”
“Regional Plan Association commends Mayor Adams, outgoing First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo, and the members of the Capital Process Reform Task Force for the much-needed actions recommended in the task force’s 2022 year-end report,” said Tom Wright, president and CEO, Regional Plan Association. “It is imperative that the New York City region reduce the cost and time it takes to build the infrastructure needed to maintain health and prosperity, reduce inequality, and meet the challenge of climate change. We urge all parties responsible for implementing these and other reforms, including the New York state Legislature and the New York City Council, to act now in collaboration with city agencies, private industry, and organized labor.”
“This comprehensive effort to reform the city’s broken capital construction process is incredibly promising and sorely needed,” said Jonathan Bowles, executive director, Center for an Urban Future. “It will help New York reduce the delays and cost overruns that have plagued the city’s capital process for far too long. Kudos to Mayor Adams and his administration for tackling an issue that is as unglamorous as they come but so vital to the city’s ability to invest in its future.”
“Reforming our capital process at the city and state levels is crucial to building back better and faster in New York. We applaud Mayor Adams’ task force’s recommendations as an important initial step — one that builds on the City Council’s vote last month to mandate a new strategic blueprint from NYC Parks — toward creating a more efficient process,” said Adam Ganser, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “We look forward to working with the Adams administration to implement the policy changes we will need to meet our immense parks and open space needs in New York City, as well as our urgent capital needs across sectors.”
“The recommendations put forth by the Capital Process Reform Task Force embrace innovative ideas and getting rid of what doesn’t work. We enthusiastically support both goals,” said Carlo A. Scissura, president and CEO, New York Building Congress. “We encourage our elected leaders across the city and state to meet this moment and expedite putting these policies into action.”
“The Brooklyn, Queens, and New York Public Libraries are grateful that Mayor Adams has taken on the important task of reforming our capital process. It is critical that we are doing all we can as a city to spend taxpayer dollars wisely and deliver the kinds of projects that will benefit New Yorkers for generations to come. We look forward to working with the administration on continuing to address the capital needs of libraries and cultural institutions,” said the New York, Queens, and Brooklyn Public Libraries.