The state Office of General Services (OGS) has made substantial progress establishing New York’s Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB) program in a short time and the program would benefit from the adoption of a comprehensive statewide plan for implementation, according to an audit released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli.
“OGS has made great strides putting in place a program that will benefit veterans, New York state and taxpayers alike,”DiNapoli said. “Going forward, OGS should develop a written strategic plan that includes milestones and participation goals to help ensure this worthwhile program continues on the right path. OGS leadership and the SDVOB Division are to be commended for effectively making this important initiative a priority.”
The Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Act was signed into law in May 2014 to help eligible veteran-owned businesses play a greater role in the state’s economy by increasing their participation in state government contracting opportunities. The act establishes a 6 percent goal for service-disabled veteran-owned businesses’participation in state contracts.
To qualify as a SDVOB, business owners must have received a service-related disability rating of 10 percent or greater from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In 2015, OGS launched the program with a pilot group of ten agencies and authorities it believed were best equipped to use SDVOBs in the program’s first year. During 2015, all ten entities were expected to submit plans and quarterly reports to OGS’s Division of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Business Development. All state agencies and public authorities are now submitting the same documentation.
DiNapoli’s auditors found that as of Dec. 28, 2015, the three-member division had certified 178 SDVOBs. During the period April 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2015, the division reported that state agencies and public authorities initiated 1,179 purchases and/or contracts involving 45 certified SDVOBs for $10.8 million, of which $6.5 million had been disbursed through Dec. 28, 2015.
The division also released rules and regulations; established an online database of certified SDVOBs; set up systems to process applications, certify eligible businesses and monitor their usage; and developed controls to respond to SDVOB certification requests. It also set up a targeted marketing strategy to attract SDVOB applications, and coordinated with various state agencies and authorities to help them understand and use the program.
DiNapoli recommended OGS:
- Develop a formal strategic plan to guide the program’s future development; and
- Expand efforts to gather and analyze information on agency contracting needs and potential service gaps, and work with strategic partners to increase the pool of certified SDVOBs to address any unmet needs.
OGS officials agreed with the auditors’recommendations and indicated they have taken steps to address them. Their comments are included in the audit.
Read the report, or go to: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/audits/allaudits/093016/15s81.pdf