The Construction Alliance, a coalition of four organizations; Anacostia Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), DC Metro Hispanic Contractors Association (DCMHCA), the Building Trades Union (CHOICE) and the National Association of Minority Contractors-DC Metro Chapter (NAMCDC), is shocked to learn that without public discussion, hearings or apparent authority to do so, staffers at the Dept. of General Services (DGS) diluted the value of preference points allocated to District Certified Business Enterprises (CBE's) that qualify under DC law 16-33 code 2-218.01, the Small Local & Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Development & Assistance Act of 2005. The staff decisions at DGS go against everything we have fought for and rely on as a small business community; transparency, accountability and the rule of law. We applaud the efforts of the administration of Mayor Muriel Bowser to undo these decisions that impact the hard fought ground that local, small and disadvantaged businesses have gained throughout the years.
We are on dangerous ground when legislation meant to help DC based small and disadvantaged businesses grow, that was passed as a result of open and public City Council hearings, is circumvented by agency changes such as those recently initiated by staff at DGS.
To evaluate proposals based on a 200-point system in lieu of a 100-point system diluted the value of the 12-point preferences allowed for local, small and disadvantaged businesses and is not consistent with policies implemented over the past 30 years.
These attempted changes can stunt the development of home-grown businesses and seriously hamper established DC-based businesses from competing, expanding and hiring local residents. Protecting and improving the small business climate is vital to maintaining a vibrant and successful capital city.
In the coming days and weeks the small business community will continue to make our voices heard. The CBE program must not be breached or allowed to die; our city depends on it.