Minority Business Enterprise Initiative
The Maryland Port Administration's (MPA) Office of Fair Practices (OFP) manages the MPA's Minority/ Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (MBE/DBE). One of the goals of this initiative is to maximize the participation of small and minority business enterprises on all MPA contracts.
Maryland's MBE regulations require agencies to structure their procurements to try to achieve an overall minimum of 29% of the total dollar value of their procurement contracts directly or indirectly from all certified Minority Business Enterprises. It further requires that agencies attempt to achieve subgoals according to the guidelines established by the Office of Minority Affairs for determining the subgoals to be set for the groups listed in State Finance and Procurement Article, §14-301(i)(1)(i)1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, Annotated Code of Maryland. In addition, when a certified MBE firm participates as a prime (independently or a part of a joint venture) on a contract, a procurement agency may count the distinct, clearly defined portion of the work of the contract that the certified MBE firm performs with its own forces toward fulfilling up to fifty-percent (50%) of the MBE participation goal (overall) and up to one hundred percent (100%) of not more than one of the MBE participation subgoals, if any, established for the contract.
OFP staff, as members of the Procurement Review Group (PRG), regularly meet with MPA procuring departments to review and assess upcoming MPA procurements for supplies, services, maintenance, construction and architectural/engineering contracts to determine if MBE goals and subgoals are appropriate for each contract.
MBE Requirements on MPA Contracts Pre-Award
Along with the bid/ solicitation package a bidder or offeror shall submit with its bid or proposal:
- A completed Certified MBE Utilization and Fair Solicitation Affidavit (Form A - PDF file)acknowledging the certified MBE overall and/or split participation goals and affirming that MBE subcontractors were treated fairly in the solicitation process and
- A completed MBE Participation Schedule (Form B - PDF file) that responds to the expected degree of MBE participation as stated in the solicitation by identifying the bidder's or offeror's specific commitment of certified minority businesses.
If bidders or offerors make a good faith effort to achieve the MBE participation goal and conclude that they are unable to achieve it, they must submit (Form A - PDF file)stating the amount of MBE participation they intend to achieve and requesting a waiver of the remainder of the goal, and (Form B - PDF file) with their bids or proposals.
If the bidder or offeror fails to submit these forms with the bid or offer as required, the Procurement Officer shall deem the bid non-responsive or shall determine that the offer is not reasonably susceptible of being selected for award.
Within ten (10) working days of receiving notice that it is the apparent awardee or from the date of actual award, whichever is earliest, the apparent low bidder must submit an Outreach Efforts Compliance Statement (Form C - PDF file), and the Subcontractor Project Participation Statement (Form D - PDF file) to the procuring unit per COMAR 21.11.03.10. (Waiver - PDF file) If bidders or offerors have requested a waiver of the certified MBE participation goals on the contract, documentation of their good faith efforts per COMAR 21.11.03.11 must be submitted to the procuring unit within this ten-day period.
If the apparent awardee fails to return each completed document within the required time, the Procurement Officer may determine that the apparent awardee is not responsible and, therefore, is not eligible for the contract award. If the contract has already been awarded, the award is voidable.
For detailed information on the MPA's MBE Program, contact the MPA's Office of Fair Practices at 401 E. Pratt Street, Suite 211, Baltimore, MD 21202, via fax (410) 347-0773 or by phone at 410-385-4556.
MBE Requirements on MPA Contracts Post-Award
Monthly MBE Activity
During the life of the contract, successful vendors and their MBE subcontractors are required to submit a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Monthly Report indicating the work performed by the MBE subcontractors and MBE payment activities. A MBE Monthly Report is due for each calendar month that the contract is in effect, whether or not payment activity has taken place. The forms are due in the OFP office by the tenth of the month and are to cover activity in the previous month. The forms will be sent electronically to the successful vendor and the MBE subcontractor on the 25th of each month as an excel document and should be returned to firstname.lastname@example.org in the same format. Both the successful vendor and the MBE subcontractors are held accountable for timely reporting and are encouraged to provide verification of payment documentation as requested. Vendors are required by State Finance and Procurement Article §15-226 and COMAR 21.10. 08 to pay undisputed MBE payments within ten (10) days of receipt of progress or final payments by the State. Vendors are held accountable for prompt payments and are encouraged to pay MBE subcontractors as required.
Recent changes in State procurement law and policies have made it unambiguous that the documentation of payments to MBE subcontractors is a high priority for the State. MBE payment verification has become a critical area of concern. Therefore, the Maryland Port Administration's efforts to track, monitor, and verify reported payments to MBE subcontractors have taken on a new energy. COMAR 21.10.08 sets forth the obligations of the prime contractor and subcontractors, and the remedies for delinquency or nonpayment of undisputed amounts on State contracts. MBE subcontractors are encouraged to communicate to the Office of Fair Practices, the MBE program administrators at MPA, any problems, concerns or late payments of undisputed amounts.