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Source : Contractor News
February 2, 2023
Author : Patty Allen
Johnny Olszewski, Baltimore County Executive, issued an order to double the County's target of involving Minority and Women-Owned Businesses in County contracts to 30% by Fiscal Year 2026.
The new executive order updates a 2017 order, which had set an overall objective of 15% of the total discretionary dollar to be spent on the procurements awarded to M/WBE firms. In recent years, the County has exceeded its target and reached the 22% mark in 2022. After Olszewski joined the county administrative board in December 2018, MWBE spending rose to nearly 60%.
Olszewski said, "From day one, our administration has been committed to promoting equity across our government, and we remain laser-focused on doing just that." He further added that he was immensely proud of the progress made but knows a lot still needs to be achieved. With the new goal, the County is recommitting to doing more to expand opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs in the years ahead.
The recently issued executive order sets a new goal of attaining 23% of all Baltimore County discretionary procurements to be granted to and performed by MBE and WBE firms by the end of 2023 and reach 30% by 2026.
To encourage the M/WBE's participation, the County will cover the subcontractor's mobilization expenses, i.e., the funds used to get a project off the ground. These funds help the contractors to identify and bear the expenses, like administrative costs, supplies, equipment rental, and more. When the County offers access to the contractors and subcontractors to these funds, they ensure projects start on time and have fully-prepared workers in hand.
To support small, minority, and women-owned businesses, the County is expanding its commitment towards equity in business-wide decision-making. It includes hiring the County's first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, creating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Community Advisory Council, forming a Blue Ribbon Panel for Procurement Reform, and more to encourage MWBEs.