Public-Private Partnerships: Improving Urban Life

By Perry Davis | Go to book overview

Managing Partnerships: A CEO's
Perspective

FRANK J. MACCHIAROLA

The New York City Partnership was formed in 1979 and began operations in 1980 because the city's business leaders were determined to change their interface with the public sector. The financial crisis of 1975 had brought the city to the brink of bankruptcy, and the business leaders understood that they were unprepared for the tasks that were needed to work more effectively with government. Caught unaware of the extent of the city's difficulties and without an organization in place adequately to represent the private sector, they searched for a way to conduct their public affairs. Consultants from McKinsey & Company told the leaders that existing organizations like the Economic Development Council and the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry had to be enhanced by an organization that would be more broadly representative of the private sector. The composition of the proposed organization had to be made more inclusive, and the agenda had to include projects and activities that would operate with the support and cooperation of the public sector. The Partnership was to be more proactive and operational—and had to embody the corporate spirit of citizenship.

The Economic Development Council (which was ultimately absorbed into the Partnership) and the New York Chamber of Commerce and Industry (which is affiliated with the Partnership) had been composed of Manhattan's big-business leaders. The support came from the big-business community of male corporate leaders. David Rockefeller, who assumed the chairmanship of the two boards as well as the chairmanship of the New York City Partnership, had determined to expand the private-sector representation in the Partnership. A sustained effort to include representatives of small business, of minority-owned business, and of women-owned business has resulted in a board of considerable breadth. The decision was also made to expand beyond strictly business organizations. University and college presidents were added, as were the chief executives of major not-for‐ profit groups in the city, so that the organization could more adequately represent the spirit of American entrepreneurship and capitalism that the Partnership

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