John F. Kennedy said "Simple justice requires that public funds to which all taxpayers of all races to contribute not be spent in any fashion which encourages, entrenches, subsidizes or result in racial discrimination."
Recently, The Texas Department of Transportation OCR began to circulate an email that discusses how, among other things, the U.S Department of Transportation Office of Governor Counsel recently approved new guidance documents and information for compliance with regards to regulation related to the DBE Program.
Really!?! In my quest to help circulate the news, be advised that nothing about the regulations of the rule (49 CFR Part 26) is new. Absolutely none of it. Rule 49 CFR Part 26 and all of its components has been in place for many years. The US Department of Transportation and other federal agencies has deferred the enforcement of the rule and the recipients who receive these funds have not enforced the rule, nor have the sub-recipients (local governments and contractors) receiving tax dollars. The tax dollars that President John F. Kennedy spoke about in the 60's are being spent in a way that does encourage and entrench and because of such, the results are racial discrimination. Let's just call it like it is. For years, by and large, state, local government entities and contractors have been engaging in the business practices of deferring the rules, and that practice must stop.
I don't know about you, but if I invest my money into a venture, I am expecting a return on my money with interest. For as long as I can remember, or at least since President Kennedy made the above referenced quote, the DBE community has paid its fair share of taxes into the public funding system. (via Paying Taxes). I need not go any further with this topic.
The State of Texas and all of its sub-recipients and contractors should immediately fix the broken system. It is not at all that hard to fix. Yes, I will be the first to admit that the vast majority of MWDBE's are just paperwork. If you don't stop manipulating the system by just using paperwork, then we will continue to create a culture of fronts and pass-throughs. The primary purpose of the MWDBE program is to help develop the under-served (Tax paying communities), not white women and/or any other group that has gamed the system.
Just like the U.S. DOT will begin to hold the Texas Department of Transportation accountable, TxDOT must hold all sub-recipients, contractors and MWDBE accountable if they lie or submit fraudulent utilization plans.
Recently, TxDOT announced some changes, or might I say the Executive Director Mr. James Bass has decided to enforce effective September 1, 2018, the rules regarding Texas Administrative Code 9.12 (d) Affiliates. Modifying the code is a start. Maybe the Contractor Performance Evaluation clause will include a full and fair deal with MWDBE.
Further, in accordance with Texas Transportation Code 223.012, TxDOT will be developing a contractor performance evaluation process and an evaluation tool to ensure contractors meet each quality, safety, and timeliness standards established by the Commission. Director Bass, please include that enforcement and sanctions will follow if violators are caught.
To the state agencies that certify MWDBE's, you must do a better job in qualifying everybody who applies for certifications 49 CFR Part 26. In the past, the excuse has been “not enough manpower.”
Can I get your Attention Please!
I have been told by several agencies that it is not their job to qualify MWDBE's. If not them, then who and what agencies are responsible???
Let us hear your comments good or bad.