Edison, NJ City Council Votes Unanimously for an MWBE Program – newsindiatimes.com

Edison, NJ councilman Samip Joshi discussing bill.
Samip Joshi. Photo: Samip Joshi.
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Edison Councilman Sam Joshi, elected and sworn-in in January 2018, was the main drievr behind the shift in policy.

On September 9, 2019, the Edison Council voted 7-0 to pass Joshi’s program for minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses contracts. Joshi’s program reserves 5% of all municipal government contracts for minority, women and veteran-owned businesses, according to a press release.

“Women, minorities, and veterans make up more than 70% of Edison’s population yet make up less than 1% of bids”, Joshi said.

“The purpose of this was to shatter the status quo. When the same few bidders keep bidding on the same contracts year over year, the taxpayers end up paying a high premium for complacent and low quality work. We experienced this low quality work most recently with our park improvement plan. The current bidding process needed to be opened up to facilitate more competitive bids,” he said.

On average, municipal government contracts range from $10,000 – $350,000 and must be approved annually.

Examples of government vendors include but are not limited to: Architects, Attorneys/Legal Services, Auto and industrial mechanics and technicians, Auditors, Engineers, Financial and Retirement planners, Food and vending machine suppliers, Hardware and technology service suppliers, HVAC contractors, Insurance brokers, Medical service suppliers, and Printing and media service suppliers.

In order to qualify in Joshi’s program, a business must have its principal business in New Jersey and must be independently owned and operated with at least 51% of its owners as either women, veteran or minority-owned.

A minority, women or veteran-owned business would have to get their certification through the NJ Division of Revenue and qualify in New Jerseys Selective Assistance vendor information database. The law becomes effective in January 2020.

“Minorities, women, and veterans have highly skilled workers that should be bidding for government contracts but they often don’t know about the process or what is available to bid on. My program will facilitate more competition in bidding and will help drive costs down for all taxpayers,” he said.

Joshi noted that NJ State law of lowest responsible bidder will still take precedence.

“Ultimately all taxpayers will benefit from more competition and I’m happy to have helped the community,” he said.