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New Orleans’ DBE certification process under scrutiny

27th July 2015   ·   0 Comments

By Ryan Whirty
Contributing Writer

On the heels of bad credit quick loan the New Orleans City Council’s adoption of legislation calling for the strict scrutiny of the city’s awarding of work contracts to local small companies officially certified as disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs), the administration’s Office of Supplier Diversity (OSD) has launched a complete review and possible revision of that very certification process.

As the city moves forward to ensure that 35 percent of city contracts are awarded to DBE’s — small businesses owned and operated by minorities, women, people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups — the city told The Louisiana Weekly last week that it’s reviewing how it actually approves, or rejects, the applications of such companies for DBE status.

Sarah N. McLaughlin, director of communications for Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office, last Tuesday confirmed the review and possible revision of the DBE certification process, but unsecured loan from directors added that because that review is still ongoing, the administration couldn’t comment extensively about the possible overhaul.

“The City of New Orleans is committed to creating access to and opportunities for our small and historically Disadvantaged Busi­ness Enterprises,” she said in a statement. “From 2010 through 2014, DBE firms were awarded more than $400 million in business opportunities with the City of New Orleans, New Orleans Aviation Board, Sewerage and Water Board and the Regional Transit Authority. In an effort to streamline DBE certification, the Office of Supplier Diversity is reviewing its current procedures and planning to roll out an improved process in 2016.”

The assessment of the certification process comes as numerous companies that are already qualified as DBEs grow louder in their assertions that the city isn’t meeting its quota of 35 percent of city contracts data for payday loans going to such firms and is unfairly shutting out DBEs from such jobs.

That clamor prompted the City Council, led by District D Councilmember Jared Brossett, to pass legislation submitted by Brossett calling for the scrutiny and renewed transparency in the contracting process.

But the administration’s apprai­sal and possible major modification of the DBE certification process attacks the issue on an even more fundamental level by scrutinizing the very beginning of what can be a long, arduous haul for small businesses owned by women, minorities, the disabled and the poor toward gaining often lucrative city work contracts.

Brossett said last Wednesday that while his knowledge of the assessment of the DBE certification process — included when the review began and the scope it will take — is limited, such periodical reviews can often be a 90 day unsecured loans bad credit good thing. He said that although he personally hasn’t received any complaints from small businesses asserting they were unfairly rejected for DBE status, he approves of the re-examination of the certification process.

“I would say that the updating of processes is always good,” Brossett said. “It’s always a positive step.”

However, he added, that re-assessment effort must be made publicly known so all citizens can have input.

“Any update has to involve updates to the public as well,” he said. It’s OK to change the rules, but to be properly updated, the public must know about it.”

According to an official memorandum written by the city’s chief administrative officer and posted on the OSD website, a DBE is defined as “a business entity that is owned and controlled by socially disadvantaged and economically disadvantaged persons online payday loans in mobile al who hold at least 51 percent equity interest in the entity, such that the business entity’s ability to compete in the business world has been restricted due to industry practices and/or limited capital and/or restricted credit opportunities that [are] beyond its control.”

The OSD website adds, “Any business owner that can demonstrate social and economic disadvantage may be certified as a DBE. Applicants carry the initial burden of proof regarding their eligibility and must demonstrate that they meet all requirements concerning individual disadvantage, business size, ownership, and control.

“The City of New Orleans does not presume [emphasis in original] that Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans. Asians, Pacific Islanders, women and persons with disabilities as inherently socially and economically disadvantaged due to their membership in a particular group. As a result, businesses owned by members of those groups are not automatically personal loans taylors granted DBE status.”

Regarding his legislation, recently adopted by the council, calling for the scrutiny of the awarding of contracting to companies already certified as DBEs, Brossett remains enthusiastic that it will yield positive results — namely, a sufficient and legally required percentage of city contracts being received by disadvantaged businesses.

“The recent legislation that I offered and that was approved by the council will shed light on the participation in the DBE program by several city boards and commissions, we should get that information in the midst of the 2016 budget process,” he said.

“That’s what was required by the legislation, and we’ll see [what city offices are] doing well, and we’ll see who has some work to do.”

This article originally published in the July 27, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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