Md. minority business program is among the nation's best

May 13, 2010

I don't know where Dennis R. McCartney gets his information to support his assertion that the Maryland Minority Business (MBE) program is a sham (Readers respond, May 13) but he is really off base and just plain wrong. As a minority business enterprise representative with the state of Maryland, it is apparent to me that he has no idea the effort that goes into trying to meet the state's 25 percent goal, both by the individual agency MBE representatives and by the Governor's Office on Minority Affairs (GOMA). Each agency is held accountable for this goal by GOMA on a monthly basis and is graded on it's efforts yearly. Most state agency MBE programs are not supported by a utilization study and therefore their efforts are not set asides, as Mr. McCartney calls them, but goals. This does not diminish the importance that MBE representatives or GOMA place on these efforts. The inclusion of minority companies in doing business with the state is a high priority.

Mr. McCartney's claim that the current registry of minority businesses is "replete with nonresident firms" is also specious. The registry is populated with those minority firms who want to participate in the process. The inclusion of out-of-state companies not only helps the employment of Maryland residents but to exclude them would be illegal.

In closing, let me say that Maryland is one of only a few states with an MBE program, and I dare say it is one of the best. The program is constantly evolving to improve and expose more and more state business transactions to minority business inclusion. The value to the Maryland minority business community is evident in Gov. Martin O'Malley and Governor's Office of Minority Affairs Special Secretary Luwanda Jenkins being honored by the Maryland Washington Minority Contractors Association at it's annual breakfast on May 14.

F. Tyrone Hill, Baltimore

The writer is deputy director in the Maryland Department of the Environment's office of fair practices.

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