150+ of NYC’s Top Business Leaders Expect Significant Hit to Revenue, Place Most Trust in State Government to Manage Crisis
The Partnership for New York City, which represents the city’s business leaders and largest private sector employers, today released a survey finding that top NYC business leaders rate increased testing and clear communication as the top steps government must take to restore business confidence, and see insufficient healthcare resources as posing the greatest threat to their businesses.
The survey, conducted for the Partnership by GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group), was conducted March 13-18 and collected both quantitative and qualitative data from more than 150 leaders representing 130+ companies. (For a full list of Partnership members, click here). The results present a snapshot of a key period in the rapidly-evolving COVID-19 situation.
Key findings from the survey include:
- 95% of businesses have implemented work-from-home policies.
- 91% expect the crisis to moderately or significantly hit their industry’s revenue over the next six months.
- 97% of business leaders have confidence in the state government to manage the crisis (versus 79% confidence in the city and 61% in the federal government.)
Leaders see insufficient healthcare resources as posing the greatest risk to their businesses going forward, and rate increased availability of COVID-19 testing and clear communications from government as the top actions they want to see to restore business confidence:
- 3/5 of business leaders ranked insufficient healthcare resources to be the most impactful potential negative event on their business.
- 2/3 of business leaders believe the most important action to increase business confidence is increasing access to COVID-19 testing.
- More than 50% ranked the banning of travel in and out of New York as one of the threats they are most concerned about; and almost 1/3 said they were most concerned about public transit being shut down or unusable.
“All businesses are craving more data and more clarity to better manage this fast-evolving situation,” said Partnership Co-chairs William E. Ford (CEO of General Atlantic) and Steven R. Swartz (President and CEO of Hearst). “We felt it was critical to survey business leaders on what they’ve done so far and what they want to see going forward and to share those results as quickly as possible with government officials and the public.”
Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership, said, “The survey makes clear that business leaders fear most inadequate healthcare resources, closing the city off in a lockdown, and closing mass transit. The business community is working with government to establish the public-private partnerships that can and must see us through this crisis.”
To execute the survey, the Partnership turned to its member company GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group), a knowledge marketplace which connects business to experts for first-hand insights. “We feel an obligation to use our platform’s capabilities – which allow our clients to quickly gain insights from select populations – to help inform coordinated actions by government, the private sector, and other groups,” said GLG CEO Paul Todd. “It’s all hands on deck to weather this challenge.”
The following op-ed by Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City, appeared in Empire Report:
The toughest challenge facing New York City today is how to meet the escalating demand for affordable housing, with needs ranging from the desperation of the homeless to the frustration of the middle class.
City government is spending more than ever on housing and shelters, but the crisis continues to grow. Politicians and advocates regularly toss up proposed solutions — like spaghetti against the wall — but not much is sticking.
Thousands of tenth graders will spend a day at company worksites, learning about career opportunities
Today, the NYC Department of Education and the Partnership for New York City are launching the city’s first Career Discovery Week. More than 6,000 high school sophomores from approximately 140 schools will have the opportunity to learn about the diverse and exciting future job opportunities available to them in the city’s corporate, financial and cultural sectors.
Throughout the week, over 180 companies will host up to 100 students each for a full day of career exploration in one of the world’s most diversified employment markets.
Examples of Career Development Week activities include:
- ABM Industries and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum – A ‘back of house’ tour of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum offering students an inside look at the mechanical, engineering and maintenance services that ABM provides at this iconic New York City landmark. Students will learn how the critical work performed by ABM team members keeps the site pristine and accessible to millions of global visitors every year.
- Brooklyn Navy Yard – Site visits of the Steiner film studios, New Lab technology hub, Lafayette 148 New York luxury women’s fashion label and other Brooklyn Navy Yard facilities, as well as panel discussions featuring the CEOs of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Steiner Studios, Boston Properties and others.
- Deutsche Bank – A career panel hosted by the bank’s Multicultural Partnership and interactive sessions covering the “Future of Work” in financial services including AI, cybersecurity, ESG and key areas of expertise for the next generation of industry professionals.
- JetBlue – Immersion session in JetBlue’s command center in Long Island City, Queens, featuring a tour of system operations and Q&A with pilots and engineers.
- JPMorgan Chase – A workplace tour covering the bank’s many functional areas followed by financial literacy training, and social media personal brand exercises for career building.
- M&T Bank Corporation – Interactive career panel session with executives representing the major business lines for M&T Bank in NYC, followed by an interview workshop and branch tour.
- Macy’s – A behind-the-scenes look at Macy’s corporate headquarters and showrooms, where students will learn about how retail companies operate and how private-label fashion brands are conceptualized, designed and managed.
- PwC – Lessons in creative computing and technology delivered by a life-sized robot named CODE-E, as well as virtual- and augmented-reality experiences.
- The Shubert Organization – Students will tour a Broadway theatre and participate in panel discussions featuring leading industry professionals speaking about the wide variety of careers available in the theatre.
- Via– Students will participate in team challenges that give them the opportunity to develop creative ideas for new service launches, growth initiatives, and marketing campaigns that spread the power of on-demand public transit to communities around the world.
- Zurich Insurance – Students will participate in a case study based on Superstorm Sandy to develop an understanding of the variety of roles involved in helping customers before, during and after a natural disaster.
A full list of participating companies is available here.
New York City high schools from all five boroughs are participating in this year’s Career Discovery Week. Priority was given to schools in under-resourced communities that do not have strong existing relationships with employers. Schools have been matched with companies based on alignment between curricula and company sector; students from the Bronx Academy of Letters will visit Hearst to learn about consumer and business-to-business media; students from the Business of Sports School are visiting Peloton; students from the Theatre Arts Production Company School are participating in programming by the Shubert Organization.
“Many young New Yorkers are unaware of the wide spectrum of good jobs that are available to them if they study hard and plan ahead,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City “We hope Career Discovery Week will introduce students to new possibilities for their future and encourage companies to build stronger relationships with our public schools.”
“New York City employers are about to discover the untapped pipeline of talent in our high schools through Career Discovery Week,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “This first-ever, week-long opportunity gives students the chance to learn from professionals across a variety of industries and gets them ready to fill the talent needs of the companies that make our city thrive. Congratulations to the students, schools and local employers participating in this innovative public-private partnership and thank you to our industry, labor, philanthropy and community partners from across the city for making this possible.”
“As employers, we are excited to partner with the Department of Education to help build a strong local pipeline of well prepared and highly motivated future job candidates, who are aware of the myriad opportunities available to them,” said William E. Ford, CEO of General Atlantic and Co-Chair of the Partnership.
“Career Discovery Week is a great example of how educators and businesses can work together,” said Steven Swartz, President and CEO of Hearst and Co-Chair of the Partnership. “We are all looking forward to offering students an inside look at our organizations and we hope that they will be inspired by the opportunities that exist for them in our city.”
“Connecting our students to the city’s current job market is an invaluable experience. It helps our students understand the professional opportunities available after graduation, and to see themselves in those jobs and careers. We thank the Partnership for New York City for linking our students to an impressive range of businesses and industries. We hope to help make “Career Discovery Week” an annual event in New York City,” said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
“At CIT, we’re committed to serving the communities where we do business and call home,” said CIT Chairwoman and Chief Executive Officer Ellen R. Alemany. “Our volunteer employees, who have a diverse range of backgrounds and roles, are excited about the opportunity to provide insights on the careers at our company and their own professional journeys.”
“As a global company with a vision of unlocking the potential of each learner, we’re excited to participate in Career Discovery Week to help students develop crucial 21st Century skills and prepare for the careers of tomorrow,” said Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw-Hill.
“Working with local businesses to create opportunities for young adults to explore so many pathways during Career Discovery Week is a win-win,” said Doug Cotter, president of Grant Associates. “Not only is it perspective-changing—and in some cases life-changing—for the students, it gives businesses throughout New York City an opportunity to connect with their next generation of employees.”
“Career Discovery Week is a milestone opportunity for the diverse organizations represented by the Partnership to educate and immerse future leaders in the variety of career paths. As architects and designers, we are dedicated to introducing the next generation to the successes they can find pursuing career opportunities in the design field; to open their eyes to possibilities or spark a passion,” said Todd DeGarmo, CEO and Principal of STUDIOS architecture.
“A&E Real Estate is very proud to be working with the NYC Department of Education and the Partnership for NYC to host these ambitious high-schoolers at the historic Riverton Square complex in Harlem,” said A&E Real Estate founder and CEO Douglas Eisenberg, “Participating in Career Discovery Week means making sure our city’s young people get in-person, accessible and practical insight into the many possible careers that exist, including under the umbrella of real estate.”
“Training our future workforce, improving educational outcomes and building a diverse talent pipeline are among the most important ways businesses can create lasting social and economic impact,” said Joe Ucuzoglu, CEO, Deloitte US. “Deloitte is proud to support Career Discovery Week to help future generations realize their full potential.”
“Barclays is proud to participate in the first-ever Career Discovery Week with the Partnership for New York City and the NYC Department of Education,” said Deborah Goldfarb, Managing Director, Citizenship, Barclays. Our colleagues are thrilled to share their experiences and insights with students as they explore career opportunities in the financial services sector.”
“During their visit to New Lab, students will have the opportunity to see firsthand the exciting innovations emerging from our member companies,” said Shaina Horowitz, Vice President of Product and Programs at New Lab. “By engaging NYC’s best and brightest young minds, we hope to inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators.”
“The New York City Department of Education and the Partnership for New York City are leading the way and opening doors for the next generation of workers,” said Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of EmblemHealth. “We are proud to partner with them and provide opportunities to talented young people from the communities we serve.”
“As every company’s future becomes increasingly powered by software, it’s important for young people to get meaningful exposure to the tech industry. MongoDB is proud to help drive New York’s transformation into a leading technology hub and we’re thrilled to participate in Career Discovery Week to meet the next generation of New York’s tech workforce,” said Dev Ittycheria, President & CEO, MongoDB.
“We know that preparing the workforce for a digital future starts while they are students,” said Kathryn Kaminsky, PwC’s New York Market Managing Partner. “We are thrilled to help introduce our city’s students to the technologies that will transform the way we live and work as part of PFNY’s Career Discovery Week.”
“Cantor Fitzgerald is excited give students the opportunity to think about their career paths and futures. It is the responsibility of all business leaders to give back to the next generation,” said Howard W. Lutnick, Chairman and CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald.
“Participating in the inaugural Career Discovery Week is an opportunity to show students the professional opportunities they have in their own backyard,” said Fran McGorry, Co-owner and CEO, Liberty Coca-Cola Beverages. “We make it a priority to invest in our local communities and provide creative educational experiences that can spark ideas for creating pathways to rewarding careers.”
“We look forward to participating in Career Discovery Week to support the learning journey of NYC students and inspire the next generation of leaders in our community,” said Gil Mermelstein, Senior Managing Director of West Monroe Partners.
“JPMorgan Chase is proud to open its doors and give our future generation a glimpse into what life at the firm is like. Our day with the students also involves financial education classes, designed to set up our young people for success. We want to help them make healthy choices when it comes to money management and career setting goals,” said Ed O’Donnell, Executive Director, Chase Business Banking, member of the Brooklyn Market Leadership Team.
“Partnership for New York City’s Career Discovery Week offers a multitude of opportunities to both the city’s employers and students,” said M&T Bank Regional President Blair Ridder. “As a community bank, we intend to illustrate how students can give back to and support their communities through their careers.”
“As the financial services industry moves forward rapidly with innovations in technology and evolving business models, we are proud to be part of this program as it helps students prepare for a wide array of exciting opportunities,” said Christiana Riley, CEO, Deutsche Bank, Americas.
“At WilmerHale we strongly believe we have a responsibility to help strengthen the communities in which we practice and live. We are proud to support the first Career Discovery Week and look forward to hosting New York City’s next generation of ambitious and talented 10th grade students,” said Anjan Sahni, Partner-in-Charge, WilmerHale New York Office.
“We’re thrilled to support this great new initiative that will encourage and inspire students in New York City to explore career opportunities in the real estate facilities industry,” said Scott Salmirs, President and Chief Executive Officer of ABM Industries. “We take tremendous pride in our amazing team members and in our commitment to building the future talent pool for our industry.”
“Zurich North America is excited to host local students at our New York offices during Career Discovery Week,” said Zurich North America CEO Kathleen Savio. “The insurance industry offers many opportunities to build a meaningful career.”
“Participating in the City’s first Career Discovery Week reflects our strong commitment to giving back to the communities in which we work and live,” said Mike Schmidtberger, Chair of Sidley Austin LLP’s Executive Committee. “Through their own personal stories, our staff and lawyer volunteers will offer a first-hand look at the variety of career paths available at a law firm to these future members of our workforce – everything from IT, marketing, HR, facilities and accounting to the practice of law itself.”
“We help make the world more resilient and to do that, we rely on the skill of professionals that come from an array of backgrounds and areas of expertise. Programs like Career Discovery Week are instrumental in helping us reach the next generation of talent and get them excited about a career in insurance,” said Philip K. Ryan, Chairman, Swiss Re America Holding Corp.
“We are pleased to participate in Career Discovery Week and share insight into the variety of opportunities available within the real estate industry with students,” said Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties.
“As the world’s knowledge marketplace, we believe everyone deserves the chance to bring their unique insights into the workforce,” said GLG CEO Paul Todd. “That’s why we’re proud to participate in Career Discovery Week to inspire and motivate young New Yorkers at the start of their career.”
“Participating in the launch of Career Discovery Week is a great way to share the many opportunities that New York offers with the next generation of job seekers,” said Michael S. Zetlin, Senior Partner at construction law firm Zetlin & De Chiara LLP.
Career Discovery Week builds on a 2018 research report developed by the Partnership and Oliver Wyman, which identified key ways business can work together to address some of the drivers of structural inequality and expand access to opportunity for all. Helping to close the opportunity gap for minority and low-income students was identified as a key area for collaboration.
Today, the Partnership for New York City submitted the following testimony to the New York State Assembly on Mayoral Control of the New York City School District.
Thank you, Chair Benedetto and committee members, for the opportunity to submit testimony on mayoral control of the New York City school system.
The Partnership for New York City represents the city’s leading businesses and their 1.5 million employees in the state. We work together with government, labor and the nonprofit sector to maintain the city’s position as the preeminent global center of commerce, innovation and economic opportunity.
The business community has consistently supported mayoral control of the public schools as the only way to effectively manage such a large and complex system. We appreciate that the Assembly has continuously supported multi-year extension of this system. We see no other way to hold the Mayor, the Chancellor and the Administration fully accountable for the quality of the schools. When authority was distributed among a variety of elected officials and community boards, student performance and the overall quality of education suffered.
A few weeks ago, the city announced that college enrollment for 2018 public high school graduates reached a record high of 62%. Since the inception of mayoral control in 2002, the high school graduation rate has grown from 50.8% to 72.7% overall and from 38.8% to 67.1% for Black and Hispanic students. Dropout rates are at historic lows. More students than ever are taking and passing Advanced Placement exams and English test scores are up in every district.
These improvements would not have been possible without the clarity of a system in which the mayor has defined authority over leadership, labor contracts, management and budget. There also has been an ability to focus on the needs of the students and the schools, in contrast to the distractions of politics and personalities that were rampant in the previous governance system. There also has been relative continuity in the tenure of chancellors, which has helped stabilize school leadership and resulted in successful initiatives such as Universal Pre-K.
We urge the Assembly to continue your support of the current governance system and to avoid any dilution of mayoral authority and accountability.
“The business community shares Governor Cuomo’s concern with prevention of gun violence and strongly supports his policy to deny a gun permit to someone who has committed a serious crime in another state,” said Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City.
Selected Innovators Invited to Demonstrate Cutting-Edge Technology at Demo Day March 13
As Part of Historic Capital Plan, MTA to Begin Soliciting Bids in Second Half of 2020 for $7.1 Billion Signaling Modernization Program Unprecedented in Size and Scope
Approximately 100 Companies from Four Continents Attend Symposium and Compete to Accelerate Modernization of New York City Transit’s Signaling System
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Transit Innovation Partnership and Empire State Development today hosted a Signaling Innovation Summit to bring together the best and brightest innovators to accelerate the modernization of New York City’s subway signaling system – a $7.1 billion program unprecedented in size and scope – and improve performance, service reliability and safety for 5.7 million daily customers.
The MTA and the Transit Innovation Partnership also announced a new signaling challenge to identify ways to make existing subway cars compatible with new signaling technology faster and at a lower cost. Selected companies will have the opportunity to present at the MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership’s Demo Day on March 13, 2020.
“The MTA is committed to pursuing the most innovative solutions possible as we undergo a historic transformation to change the way we do business,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO. “We’re eager to hear proposals on signal modernization that will help us deliver on our core mission to provide faster, more reliable service for our millions of daily customers.”
“Pursuing new partnerships with cutting-edge companies in the tech world will be a gamechanger for the MTA,” said Mark Dowd, MTA Chief Innovation Officer. “The infusion of new thinking and technology will make the MTA a leader in the transportation industry.”
“The New York City subway system cannot truly be modernized without robust improvements to its aging signal infrastructure. This is a time for innovation and collaboration,” Rachel Haot, Executive Director of Transit Innovation Partnership, said. “We look forward to working closely with the MTA’s leadership team to identify transformative opportunities to bring the subway system into the 21st century.”
“New York’s economic growth relies on a modern, resilient, dependable transit system,” said Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler. “As the MTA continues to upgrade the service it delivers to riders, events like the one announced today will challenge us not only to plan for the needs of tomorrow’s commuters, but to acknowledge the critical importance a strong transportation network has on our future economy.”
The summit challenged approximately 100 companies from four continents to reimagine signaling infrastructure and advance the transition to 21st century signaling technologies. Participants pitched their technologies to address key signaling program priorities: improving on-time performance; enhancing operational flexibility; enhancing safety; building a system that is quicker to install, test and maintain; and delivering these objectives on time and on budget.
A team of academic and MTA experts from all agencies evaluated the proposed technologies on a set of criteria including whether the proposals are feasible in the MTA environment, in mature state for a live demonstration, present a new way of deriving value from existing MTA assets, and whether the pitch company has a qualified and compatible team to collaborate with the MTA.
MTA and Transit Innovation Partnership Demo Day and Signal Challenge
A critical part of modernizing subway signaling in a cost-efficient manner is upgrading legacy train cars with new technology. Traditional networking methods to connect train and signaling components would make upgrading more expensive than buying new trains. The Signaling Challenge calls for reliable, cost-effective strategies that can accelerate the aggressive timeline of the MTA’s Fast Forward Plan and efficiently allocate the $7 billion included for signal modernization on six train lines in the 2020-2024 capital plan.
Companies with relevant solutions to the Signaling Challenge can learn more and apply at transitinnovation.org by Feb. 3, 2020.
The MTA will select the most promising companies who apply to present their ideas at the Signaling Demo Day on March 13, 2020.
Technologies identified at the Signaling Demo Day which successfully address key objectives may be eligible for Test & Evaluate contracts. These contracts support the research and development of new technologies prior to the procurement phase, allowing the MTA to test and customize innovative products in the transit environment.
“The use of Test & Evaluate contracts allows the MTA to utilize an under-leveraged procurement method to test the reliability of new technology,” said Steve Plochochi, NYCT Senior Vice President of Procurement and Supply Chain. “The upcoming Signaling Demo Day is great opportunity for the MTA to identify innovative new ideas that advance our efforts to modernize the subway’s outdated signal system.”
2020-2024 Capital Plan Signal Modernization Program
Over the next five-year Capital Program, the MTA will award signal modernization contracts for the following six line corridors, with contract awards beginning in the second half of 2020.
The following lines have been selected as part of the program:
- Queens Boulevard Line East ( from Kew Gardens-Union Turnpike to Jamaica 179 St and Jamaica Center Parsons/Archer)
- Crosstown ( from Court Square to Hoyt-Schermerhorn)
- Lexington Avenue ( 149 St-Grand Concourse to Nevins St)
- Fulton ( from Jay St to Euclid Av)
- Astoria ( from Astoria Ditmars to 57 St-7 Av)
- 63 Street ( from 21 St-Queensbridge to 57 St-6 Av)
The signal innovation summit underscores the MTA’s commitment to innovation and transformation and supports the agency’s highest priority: upgrading its outdated signaling system. For more information on the historic 2020-2024 Capital Plan, please visit: https://new.mta.info/capital/2020CapitalProgram
Today, the Partnership for New York City submitted the following testimony on gig economy workers to the New York State Assembly.
The Partnership for New York City represents private sector employers of more than 1.5 million New Yorkers. We work together with government, labor and the nonprofit sector to maintain the city’s position as the preeminent global center of commerce, innovation and economic opportunity.
Thank you, Chairman Crespo, for your thoughtful approach to ensuring that New Yorkers who earn their living through the so-called “Gig Economy” have the protections and benefits they need and deserve. Today, New York state is in a position to craft model legislation for the country that responds to the complexities of how internet platforms are used to connect people to work. Businesses should not be allowed to circumvent the standards that New York sets for treatment of full-time and part-time workers by mischaracterizing them as independent contractors.
We hope that New York will not make the same mistakes that California did in failing to carefully define who is covered in their gig worker legislation. There are several major problems with the California law, starting with an oversimplified “ABC” formula that determines who is a “gig worker” and who should be an employee. It potentially captures many situations where individuals have chosen to work as sole proprietors of small businesses. It also may include people who have decided to supplement their income by taking job assignments that are episodic and allow them to perform work on their own schedule and for multiple clients.
We have canvassed our Partnership members and found that many legitimately hire independent contractors, directly or through intermediaries, to carry out auxiliary functions that require special expertise or extra capacity. A California-type solution would disrupt large numbers of these voluntary business arrangements that are important to breadwinners across the state, as well as to their employers.
California law seeks to limit their interference with legitimate independent contracting arrangements by exempting vocations that are not connected to technology platforms. These exemptions include vocations such as insurance agents, certain health care professionals, securities broker-dealers or investment advisors, and cosmetology services. But many or most of these exempted occupations are likely to gravitate toward technology platforms in the future, so trying to define a gig worker by exception does not make sense in our fast-moving economy.
There are also conventional jobs—such as newspaper delivery—that do not belong in the gig category because they are explicitly designed as a source of supplemental income and not as full-time occupations.
On the other hand, there are many technology platforms that provide a marketplace for independent contractors that should not be covered by “gig worker” protections. Examples range from marketplaces like Etsy, which has more than 80,000 New Yorkers using its site to sell products, to platforms that are connecting global networks of experts, software developers, or providers of other professional services. These workers may be available “on demand,” but are clearly not depending on a single client or employer as their source of income and benefits.
As a society, we should be trying to protect gig workers and part-time workers who are not able to protect themselves. On the other hand, we should not be imposing additional costs and regulations that interfere with voluntary business relationships and entrepreneurial activities of New Yorkers who choose to work as independent contractors or sole proprietors.
How do we define a new category of worker who should be protected through legislation? This is a tough question that the Legislature has been struggling to address. The broad generalizations and exceptions that the California law put in place are not working. A better approach might be to consider the number of hours worked or on call (occasional versus substantially full-time over an extended period), the nature of work performed (auxiliary or support services versus core business functions), or the nature and rate of compensation (hourly wage below a certain level versus a fixed compensation for product deliverables). Certainly, the law should not apply to those whose hours of work are de minimis (say, less than 20 hours a week) or where the hourly rate of pay is substantially more than minimum wage.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated about 10% of U.S. workers have alternative arrangements to a typical 9-5 day at one employer as their primary job, including temp agency work, on-call work, contract work and freelancing. However, of all 881,000 independent contractors statewide, including those with a separate full-time job, 614,000, or 70%, are not on-demand workers. If New York is to take regulatory or legislative action in this area, it should be focused on the remaining 30%.
The Partnership and our member companies are prepared to work with the Legislature and interested parties to come with legislation that achieves worker protections while protecting the rights and interests of independent contractors and those who hire them.
“There are multiple issues placing hardship on neighborhood retailers, most of which are not solved by commercial rent stabilization,” said Kathryn Wylde, President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. “Competition from many sources, most notably online retail activity, has cut into the revenues of brick and mortar retail businesses. New mandates imposed by local government have increased the costs of running a business in the city. Changing customer demands have undermined businesses, such as tobacco and newspaper vendors, that have failed to update their product lines. Rising rents are definitely a factor in business closures, but rent increases are at least partly due to escalating city real estate tax assessments that are passed along to tenants. The Council appears to have settled on one causal factor contributing to small business hardship, which is the presumption of landlord greed. This may satisfy their political agenda, but it will not solve the complex problems created by a rapidly changing economy and ill-considered government impositions on the marketplace.”
Today, the Partnership for New York City delivered testimony before the New York Senate in support of constitutional changes to modernize New York’s court system:
Testimony of Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City
Senate Standing Committee on Judiciary and Assembly Standing Committee on Judiciary
Thank you Chairs Hoylman and Dinowitz and members of the committees for the opportunity to testify on court modernization. The Partnership for New York City represents the employers of more than 1.5 million New Yorkers. We work with government, labor and the civic sector to maintain the city’s position as the pre-eminent global center of commerce, innovation and economic opportunity.
The Partnership strongly supports the constitutional change put forward by Chief Judge DiFiore that would make the structural changes that are necessary to modernize New York’s antiquated and cumbersome court system. Since she took office, Judge DiFiore has done much to improve management of what is the most complex court system in the country. The many accomplishments of the Chief Judge and her team were recognized recently when she became the first public sector manager to be awarded the prestigious Deming Cup by Columbia University Business School.
Unfortunately, provisions of the state constitution place major restrictions on what even the best manager can do to ensure the prompt and fair administration of justice in New York. Whether it is a business suffering loss from long delays in the case backlog in the commercial court or an inmate at Rikers waiting years for their cases to be heard in criminal court, the current situation is not working for anyone.
Judge DiFiore’s plan relies in part on the work of the Special Commission on the Future of the New York State Courts, appointed by Chief Judge Judith Kaye in 2006, on which I served. We established at that time that the court system must be restructured in order to allow for efficient management and to eliminate duplication of effort. We recommended that the current structure, which is inflexible and difficult to navigate, results in substantial unnecessary costs for all involved, including the taxpayer. In its 2007 report, the Commission estimated that individual and business litigants, employers and municipalities could save $443 million from the type of reforms that Judge DiFiore recommends.
New York has eleven trial courts — three more than any other state. California has only one trial court despite having more than twice the population of New York. Many cases involve trials in several courts, resulting in multiple fees and excessive litigation over questions of jurisdiction.
New York court administration has very limited ability to move judges around to address case load needs in the different courts. This has been a key issue for commercial court litigants, who have increasingly moved their cases to Delaware where a more coherent court structure allows for relatively fast disposition of difficult business disputes. In fact, Delaware has enjoyed significant economic benefits from large commercial cases and legions of lawyers descending on them for timely litigation. This is, almost inevitably, at New York’s expense.
Many of us would welcome amendments that go further, such as the merit appointment of judges. But Judge DiFiore has presented a proposal that is both simple and modest, in order to take the first major step toward a better, more cost-effective and competitive court system. The Partnership urges the legislature to adopt these long-overdue reforms as soon as possible.
By Kathryn Wylde | Empire Report | 10/31/19
This week, Industry City in Sunset Park will begin a rezoning process for the second phase of Brooklyn’s most exciting new center of industrial, retail, and creative artisan activity. Despite opposition from anti-development activists, the project merits prompt approval by the City Planning Commission and City Council.
Formerly known as Bush Terminal, this six million square foot redevelopment of underutilized industrial land and buildings is long overdue. Industry City will bring more than 20,000 new jobs, job training for community residents, and affordable workshop, manufacturing and retail space for hundreds of diverse entrepreneurs and artists. It is already the headquarters and practice center of the Brooklyn Nets and home to an NYU-sponsored business incubator focused on veterans. Its community spaces feature entertainment and enrichment programs for all ages, making for a unique destination that showcases the best of Brooklyn.