The Corner

A ‘W’ Is Not Just an Upside-Down ‘M’

This news story describes the important distinction in Baltimore municipal contracting between a Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) and a Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE):

The penalty to a contractor who misclassified a minority firm in a city sewer project — loss of a nearly $6 million contract. The penalty to taxpayers — an extra $340,000 handed to a politically connected contractor. . . . The mistake was a result of Best Fence being sold by its female owner to an African-American buyer, which changed its classification from a WBE to a MBE. The contractor, Daisy Concrete of Wilmington, Del., was unaware of the sale and had placed Best Fence in its bid papers as a WBE instead of a MBE. This meant that the bid had 16% MBE and 2% WBE participation, instead of the 14% MBE and 4% WBE participation stipulated in the bid.

It’s important to keep in mind these racial and gender distinctions, as we head into the Martin Luther King Day weekend.

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