Scott Administration Releases Study Addressing Utilization of Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses
Wednesday Oct 5th, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Study, the first such work in nearly a decade, highlights impacts of past discriminatory practices and features recommendations to level the playing field and increase efficiency
BALTIMORE, MD. (Wednesday, October 5, 2022) - Today, the Scott Administration shared findings from a comprehensive study of work overseen by the Baltimore City Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO). The study, conducted by Tampa, Fla., -based MGT Consulting Group, found that past discrimination in the City's contracting process by prime contractors against minority and women's business enterprises has resulted in significant underutilization of minority and women's business enterprises in contracts awarded by the City of Baltimore.
Among the key findings of the study, which was released today before the Board of Estimates, was the need to reorganize the City's Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office, placing it under the Office of the Mayor as a stand-alone agency. Currently, the office is a small division of the City Law Department, which has been a limiting factor with regards to funding. With this announcement, the MWBOO will be placed within the Mayor's Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development (MWBD). Combining the two offices will help produce better coordinated efforts and result in a more efficient use of resources.
"My administration and MWBOO, specifically, are committed to supporting minority- and women-owned business and will be working diligently in partnership with City leaders to ensure that these recommendations are adopted and implemented," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "Even before the findings of this study were shared, we have been taking the necessary steps to continue to improve services to the M/WBE community - primarily by combining the Mayor's Office of Minority and Women's Business Development with MWBOO."
"This combined office will provide more developmental tools and resources to allow for additional availability and utilization of M/WBEs," Scott continued. "Baltimore's success is dependent upon our small, minority, and women-owned businesses and we are working to grow a vast and diverse pool of businesses to partner with and prosper in the City."
Additional recommendations include:
- Implementing staff training on business formation to understand the common business barriers as well as the functions of business operations such as bidding and generating capital
- Improving payment terms on city contracts to increase the speed of payment cycles, especially for subcontractors
- Implementing a contract compliance software system for all vendors to report subcontractor utilization and payments.
The last disparity study was completed in 2014. Baltimore City Code mandates that the Minority and Women's Business Program be narrowly tailored to remedy ongoing effects of past discrimination, an objective that is advanced by requiring regular review of the necessity for this work and limiting those minority and women's businesses that qualify for certification in the Baltimore City Market Area.
The City retained MGT in June 2020 to conduct an availability and disparity study to determine if there are any disparities between the utilization of minority-owned business enterprises (MBE), women-owned business enterprises (WBE), veteran-owned business enterprises (VBE), disabled owned business enterprises (DOBE), and lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, queer-owned business enterprises (LGBTQ) compared to the availability of these firms in the City's marketplace who are ready, willing, and able to perform work. MGT analyzed data for Fiscal Year 2016 through Fiscal Year 19 for construction, architecture and engineering, goods and other services, including professional services. The study analyzed whether disparities exist between the number of available MBEs, WBEs, VBEs, DOBEs, and LGBTQs providing goods or services in the above business categories (availability) and the number who are contracting with the City as a prime contractor or subcontractor (utilization). The report found that a persistent, pervasive, and statistically significant disparity remains that necessitates the need for the Minority and Women's Business Program to continue.
"This report is critical to the inclusive development of Baltimore City by providing an independent assessment of the City's progress towards eliminating all disparities within the process to procure goods and/or services," said Christopher R. Lundy, Esq., chief of the Minority & Women's Business Opportunity Office.
"This independent analytical analysis provides the citywide data needed to assess the Minority and Women's Business Program." Lundy added. "And we are confident that this will serve as a roadmap to ensure that we are navigating a course that eliminates any barriers for M/WBEs to successfully enter the business sector in our city."