Montgomery County Council Enacts Legislation to Extend the County’s Minority Owned Business Purchasing Program

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Rockville, Md., Oct. 19, 2021—Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted Expedited Bill 29-21, Contracts and Procurement —Minority Owned Business—Sunset Date Amendments, which extends the County’s Minority, Female and Disabled-Owned Business (MFD) Program for two years by extending the sunset date of the program until Dec. 31, 2023. The bill also provides until July 1, 2023 for the director of the Office of Procurement to submit a report to the Council and the County Executive on the need to continue the program.

Bill 29-21 is companion legislation to a $700,000 special appropriation to the County’s FY22 Operating Budget, which was approved in July 2021. The special appropriation provides funds for a disparity study for the County’s Minority, Female and Disabled-Owned Business Program. The goal of the study is to determine if the program should be extended further, and if it is extended, what it should look like in the future. The County’s procurement law authorizes a program to remedy the effects of discrimination against minority owned businesses; however, under existing law this program was scheduled to expire at the end of 2021.

“The MFD Program is a vital lifeline for our County’s businesses owned by women, people of color, and entrepreneurs with a disability, and is a critical component of our County’s Racial Equity and Social Justice Initiative,” Council President Hucker said. “These are the businesses that need our help the most, so I’m glad the Council is taking action to ensure the continuation of this great resource.”

“It is critically important that we continue to support our minority-owned businesses through this important program,” Council Vice President Albornoz added. “These local businesses contribute to the vibrancy of our economy and community.”

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in extending this program that supports minority firms as they seek opportunities in contracting with our government,” said Councilmember Navarro, Chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee. “It is the right thing to do, it aligns with our Racial Equity and Social Justice law, which I authored and championed, and assures that our County’s residents will continue to be served by a diverse array of talented businesses. It also sends out a clear message: Montgomery County is open for business.”

Montgomery County’s Minority, Female and Disabled-Owned Business Program attracts and assists certified minority firms in gaining access to prime contractor and subcontractor opportunities with Montgomery County government agencies. The program also conducts outreach activities and workshops to provide a forum for businesses to explore individual and joint contracting opportunities.

The Office of Legislative Oversight estimated that this bill would have a net positive impact on economic conditions in the County by increasing the number of local companies receiving County contracts and would favorably impact racial equity and social justice in the County by narrowing the entrepreneurship gap by race and ethnicity.

View the Council staff report and Expedited Bill 29-21.


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