Mayor Walsh Announces New Division Focused on DEI in Procurement

Published on November 01, 2023

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Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh has announced a new division focused on pursuing social impact in city government procurement. The new Division of Equity Compliance and Social Impact (DECSI) is part of the Office of Management and Budget. The division will better represent the City’s commitment to promoting diversity, fairness, and inclusivity by harnessing its purchasing power for economic, social, and strategic outcomes.   

DECSI, formerly known as the Office of Contract Compliance and Minority Affairs, and was part of the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development. The Syracuse Common Council approved the move to the Office of Management and Budget as well as a change in the office’s name in the city charter earlier this year. 

“The City of Syracuse is putting our money where our mouth is,” said Mayor Walsh. “The renaming and reorganization of the Division of Equity Compliance and Social Impact reflects our commitment to using our purchasing power to advance our vision to embrace diversity and create opportunity for all.” 

DECSI will lead the development and implementation of proactive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across city government. One targeted initiative is advancing the City’s strategic plan to increase opportunities to engage local and diverse businesses to better understand how to serve them. The division will continue creating engagements similar to its MWBE outreach event in September and Future Women in STEM event in October. The division is also integral to helping create wealth among disadvantaged communities in its ability to connect local vendors and small businesses to opportunities to earn government contracts. 

“The City of Syracuse spends $143 million annually on contracted goods and services, from plowing snow to delivering broadband internet to residents. How we spend our money and who we spend it with matters. It impacts the quality of services delivered to residents and contributes to equitable economic development,” said Tim Rudd, Budget Director. 

The division is working closely with other Budget Office divisions, as well as the procurement transformation team across city government on the City’s Procurement Transformation agenda, an ongoing two-year project funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies' Innovation Team (i-team) program that focuses on proactive measures to significantly change city government buying practices. This work includes improving procurement planning, digitizing systems, and building capacity for results-driven contracting and reporting compliance. As part of this project, the City of Syracuse has received grant funding, as well as staff and training in human-centered design, digital transformation, and agile process improvement. 

The City’s procurement improvements are already visible in recent changes to the City’s Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses program. DECSI and the transformation team have streamlined the City certification from 16 pages to 8 pages, improved accessibility by conducting user-testing sessions with future users, and digitized an application and directory for MWBE-SDVOB vendors, offering certified businesses improved visibility and public awareness to relevant contract opportunities. Further improvements to the website and digital systems are planned in the future. 

New Assistant Director to Lead Division of Equity Compliance and Social Impact 

Mayor Walsh also named Rebecca Lumpkin as the Assistant Director of Equity Compliance of DECSI. She will be critical to the coordination and partnership of planning city procurement alongside the Budget and Purchase divisions.   

In this role, Lumpkin serves as the City’s liaison to the local vendor community and in ensuring that the City’s contracted firms subcontract with MWBE-SDVOB organizations. She is responsible for compliance reporting on the Joint School Construction Board and other City, State, and Federal projects and in accordance with each level of government’s respective polices.  

Lumpkin previously worked in complex project management, contract compliance, and procurement management for the private sector and for the federal government. She has also worked in the health sector managing public health projects for social impact through the Allyn Foundation. Lumpkin is a veteran of the United States Navy and earned her Bachelor of Science from Syracuse University in Public Health.