Baltimore releases results of MWBE disparity study

MD News - Published Oct 17, 2022

The Office of Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott has released to the Board of Estimates the results of a disparity study of work overseen by the Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO). The study found statistically significant underutilization of minority and women's business enterprises (MWBEs) in City contracting.

The study examined, specifically, the experiences of minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs), women-owned business enterprises (WBEs), veteran-owned business enterprises (VBEs), disabled owned business enterprises (DOBEs), and lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, queer-owned business enterprises (LGBTQs), to determine their utilization in City procurement during the period of fiscal years 2016 through 2019. The report found that "persistent, pervasive, and statistically significant disparity" (in the words of a press release from the City's Law Department) remains with respect to such businesses and the share of procurement dollars they receive. The findings of underutilization relative to availability of such businesses will form part of the legal basis on which attempts to remedy such disparities can continue.

Key recommendations the study made include: making the City's Minority and Women's Business Opportunity Office, currently within the City's Law Department, a standalone agency by combining it with the Mayor's Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development (MWBD), which will allow for greater funding levels; adopting procedural reforms that will speed up payments to contractors and especially to subcontractors; and implementing a contract compliance software system through which all vendors must record subcontractor utilization and payments.

"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 in a statement.

Read the Mayor's Office press release at https://mayor.baltimorecity.gov/news/press-releases/2022-10-05-scott-administration-releases-study-addressing-utilization-minority.

Read the City's press release at https://law.baltimorecity.gov/news/press-releases/2022-09-26-disparity-study-press-release-statement.