I read F. Tyrone Hills letter Friday morning ("Md. minority business program among the nation's best," Readers respond, May 14), and I had to shake my head. Having worked in the construction industry in Maryland for the past 30 years, I can tell you the two fatal flaws that make the state's minority business enterprise participation requirements on state projects a joke, and this goes for federal projects as well.
While the MBE requirements guarantee that a minority owned business will be given the contract, there are no guarantees that the work will be performed by that company. The common practice in this area is for white subcontractors to bid jobs, then they run the paperwork through a minority business, which collects a fee of typically 5 percent for processing the paperwork. Since the minority business doesn't do the work itself, only the owner of that company benefits. Only a person who is rich gets richer. If that company was forced to do the actual work with its own workforce, that owner would be forced to hire new people and train them, and since minority owners typically hire minority workers, it would vastly improve the unemployment situation in the city. As it is, it's a big joke in construction circles.