CREATING AN EVER SMALLER CLICHE OF 'SMALL BUSINESSES' WHILE KILLING HIGHER WAGE LAWS----WITH FEES AND TAXES.
In the news this week was Baltimore City Mayor Rawlings-Blake and City Council President Jack Young shouting they do not run a city government full of fraud and corruption. So many complaints, media articles, government watchdog investigations say otherwise. Regardless of race----a system that creates a small pool of people made wealthy by lying, cheating, and stealing through a crony government does almost no one good. Baltimore Board of Estimates operates openly with fraud. The Baltimore City charter was written by Hopkins and Baltimore Development so the Mayor appointed the majority on the Board of Estimates and they all vote in tandem for whatever they are told. The bidding process was written in a way that any step can be used as reason to award counter to the best interests of the city taxpayers. I spent a year attending every week just to get an idea of how the fraud and corruption occurs. Baltimore Brew does a good job outing all of this and it often makes the mainstream media. So, it is no secret---
It all has to do with pay-to-play and sending money to a few to move the higher agenda all filled with fraud ----billions of dollars of fraud at the top to hundreds of thousands in fraud at the bottom of the contract award. The few people in the loop are brought over and over to testify to Baltimore City Hall or Maryland Assembly how Hopkins' policies are good and how minorities are doing just fine in the state and city.
One bill in the Maryland Assembly
wants to place the burden of training costs for what used to be apprenticeship programs but now are community college job training programs on the contractor awarded a 'prevailing wage' bid. Baltimore has created loopholes that keeps contractors from having to abide with prevailing wage laws by awarding almost all of this small category of jobs to out-of-state contractors who then make subcontractors of Maryland small business contractors. Keep in mind----prevailing wage is not that much different---a few dollars more---but they are so determined to pay Maryland citizens the lowest wage that they circumvent this law all the time. You won't hear a minority contractor shout against that but because some laws are skirted----all laws start to be skirted. Minority contractors in Baltimore have almost all been pushed out of business because of this fraud and loopholes in awards. The small business minority contractors that make this small pre-approved list are brought out to hawk bad policies and work well within all of the fraud and corruption.
HONESTLY, IT IS NO DIFFERENT THAN GOVERNMENT CONTRACTING IN KABAL.
Larger contracting corporations have union apprenticeships that train for jobs and the unions and corporations split the costs. Neo-liberal education reform is making taxpayers pay for this job training at community colleges with these reforms. This Maryland Assembly bill is deliberately making it so small contracting businesses for prevailing wage jobs pay for all of the job training for their employees. How many small businesses can afford this? Only the ones on Baltimore's 'pre-approved' contractor list getting most of the contract work in the city. So, this minority contractor and the organization supposedly protecting minority and women contractors MWBOO and who are of the pre-approved group come testify positively for what will make it impossible for small business contractors in Baltimore and Maryland to compete for prevailing wage jobs. Hopkins is so desperate to avoid paying prevailing wage they have pols pushing laws that will allow only big corporations to afford to pay for training----
Maryland Prevailing Wage Laws
The Prevailing Wage law regulates the hours of labor, rates of pay, conditions of employment, obligations of employers and duties of certain public officials under contracts and subcontracts for public works in Maryland. The Prevailing Wage law applies to a construction project valued at $500,000 or more if either of the following criteria are met: (1) the contracting public body is a unit of State government or an instrumentality of the State, and there is any State funding for the project; or (2) the contracting public body is a political subdivision, agency, person or entity (such as a county) and the State funds 50% or more of the project except for school construction where the contract value is $500,000 or greater with state funding of 25% or more. Contact us with questions or concerns.
A wage determination issued for a project specifies the wage and fringe benefit rates for each classification of worker, determined to prevailing in that locality for that type of construction. Wage Determinations are issued for each locality in the State (23 counties and Baltimore City) and are in effect for one year from the date on which they become final. The law requires employees on a public works contract to be paid overtime for hours in excess of 10 hours in a single day, and for work performed on a Sunday or a legal holiday.
Contractors found to be paying wages below the prevailing wage rate may be fined $20 per day for each worker paid less than the established rate. Note: The maximum allowable ratio is one journeyman to one apprentice. All apprentices must be registered with the Maryland Apprenticeship and Training Program without exception
Certified Payroll Statements:
Contractors on State funded construction projects covered by the Prevailing Wage Law are required to electronically submit certified payroll statements indicating proper worker classification and wage for both straight time and overtime work. Certified payrolls must be electronically submitted to the Commissioner of Labor and Industry within 14 days after the end of the payroll period. Penalties for late submission of payrolls total $10 for each calendar day the records are late.
The Prevailing Wage Unit is compiling a list of registered contractors, contractor's associations and labor organizations who will be notified electronically when to voluntarily participate in the annual Prevailing Wage Rate Survey. The Commissioner encourages all interested groups to voluntarily electronically submit data detailing wage rates paid to workers on various types of construction in all localities in Maryland. If you would like to be added to the list, please register online.
MAKE NO MISTAKE---THIS IS COLLUSION BETWEEN THE PEOPLE LEADING THE AGENCY TASKED WITH PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTORS IN BALTIMORE AND MARYLAND.
This all has to do with taxes, fees, and fines in that this bill seeks to use the fee of job training requirements to limit to a few the ability to bid for ordinary contracting jobs in Baltimore and Maryland and it WILL put many more small businesses out of business and keep new small business from being started. It is all being promoted by an insider minority small business owner simply wanting to be able to have a business.
This one bill will keep all small business contractors not in the Hopkins and Baltimore Development fold from getting jobs.
None of the laws surrounding a state and city government's Board of Estimates contracting process allows all of this pay-to-play----testimony for contract awards----awards for hundreds of thousands and sometimes millions of dollars more than necessary for the taxpayer----and this bill is one example of how these rules come about. Written by Johns Hopkins and pushed by Mayor Rawlings Blake with the hand-picked business owners thrown a few bones left from the huge development corporations getting the bulk of awards.
'Top mayoral aide hires her neighbor for minority business post BREW EXCLUSIVE: Hired to advise struggling minority businesses, a consultant and his boss are refugees from a failed hotel project in New York'.
Low bid rejected on a technicality, while higher bidder gets a pass Two bids on the same contract had flaws. Guess which one got the go-ahead from Baltimore's Board of Estimates?
Mark Reutter Baltimore Brew
February 8, 2012 at 8:48 pm
Piyush Goel addresses the Board of Estimates today. To his left is City Comptroller Joan Pratt and City Council President Jack Young. To his right is Thomas Corey, the minority compliance director.
Would Baltimore City Hall reject the lowest bidder of a $1 million-plus contract on a technicality, then allow a higher bidder with a more significant flaw to win the award?
That’s what happened today when the Board of Estimates rejected a low bid because a single number was missing from a document, but accepted a higher bid whose “non-compliance” with Maryland tax authorities was deemed correctable.
As a result, a veteran local contractor (Potts & Callahan) won the contract, a newcomer from Washington, D.C., learned a lesson about Baltimore contracting, and taxpayers will fork out an added $169,407 for the demolition of the ex-Greyhound bus station on Baltimore’s West Side.
Goel Services’ low bid of $1,057,593 to tear down the bus station was deemed unacceptable by the city’s Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO) because it failed to include the exact dollar amount assigned to a minority subcontractor on a bid document.
Instead, the company – a federal contractor that only recently began bidding in Baltimore – included the percentage of the total award.
Simple multiplication would have permitted MWBOO to do the math and fill in the blank. But such work is not within the purview of the office, and the omission constituted “a material defect on a [minority] goal,” Thomas B. Corey, MWBOO director, told the spending board.
Thus the contract went to the next lowest bidder, Potts & Callahan, even though its bid also violated rules administered by MWBOO.
Specifically, Potts & Callahan’s minority subcontractor, Page Technologies Inc., was “not in good standing” with the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation, MWBOO concluded, according to the written agenda reviewed by The Brew.
Typically, “not in good standing” means a company owes taxes to the state.
But after making that determination, MWBOO ruled that Potts & Callahan “will be allowed to substitute an approved MBE [minority business enterprise] if Page Technologies Inc. is not in good standing at the time of the award.”
Low bidder Goel was disqualified for not including the "Subcontract Amount $" in his bid. It only included the subcontract percentage of total contract. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
In other words, Potts & Callahan can change its minority contractor, rather than be disqualified for presenting an out-of-compliance contractor.
Board Rejects Protest
Piyush J. Goel lodged a protest before the spending board. He said the problem with his company’s bid could have been fixed “by a two-minute call” to his office.
MWBOO’s Corey countered that there were no exceptions to the rule that both the percentage and exact amount of dollars to be assigned to a minority contractor be disclosed on the document, “Part B: MBE/WBE and Prime Contractor’s Statement of Intent.”
(Well, not exactly, Corey acknowledged. If a bid pertained to a “requirements contract,” the subcontract amount could be omitted on the document. “But this was not a requirements contract,” Corey declared.)
Goel asked the board to approve his bid contingent upon his compliance with minority goals, which he said he fully intended to honor.
But City Solicitor George Nilson told Goel that rules are rules. While not wanting to spend money unnecessarily, Nilson recommended that the board accept MWBOO’s findings and reject the protest. (MWBOO is part of the City Solicitor’s office.)
The panel voted unanimously to approve Nilson’s motion.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Comptroller Joan Pratt and City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young did not comment as to their reasons for rejecting the protest.
Part of “Superblock” Project
The contract involves demolition of the vacant, five-story Greyhound station on West Fayette Street. The structure is on the Superblock site where the city has condemned all of the buildings on a large block centered at Lexington and Howard streets.
Calling Superblock a top priority of her administration, Rawlings-Blake and other members of the spending board recently approved the third extension of a land disposition agreement with Lexington Square Partners, the developers of the site.
The city’s demolition of the Greyhound station will save the developers the trouble and cost of tearing down the building, which is slated to be replaced by an apartment tower.
Potts & Callahan included the subcontract dollar amount. However, the subcontractor Page Technologies is "not in good standing" with the state. (Photo by Mark Reutter)
M.J. “Jay” Brodie, head of the Baltimore Development Committee (BDC), said the cost of the Greyhound demolition will be factored into the price that Lexington Square Partners will pay for the land, if the deal is completed.
The Brew has been documenting the at times seemingly arbitrary actions of MWBOO under the leadership of Shirley A. Williams (here and here). Corey was named the office’s chief following Williams’ retirement last month.
A 12-year veteran of city government, Corey served as MWBOO chief for a short period when Williams was deputy director of the Department of Public Works.
Most recently, Corey was the senior counsel of the city’s employee pension systems.
Today marked his first appearance before the board in his new capacity. His return elicited a hearty “Welcome back, Mr. Corey!” by Rawlings-Blake after he finished his presentation.
Contractor and Subcontractor Responsibilities
Wage and Hour: Prevailing Wage----- OREGON LAW
Filing a Public Works Bond with Construction Contractors Board Contractors and subcontractors must file a $30,000 public works bond with the Construction Contractors Board (CCB) before beginning work on a public works project. The public works bond must provide that the contractor or subcontractor will pay claims ordered by the bureau to workers on public works projects. Unlike other required payment and performance bonds, the public works bond remains in effect continuously and covers all public works projects worked on during the duration of the bond. ORS 279C.836(1) Before allowing a subcontractor to start work on a public works project, the contractor must ensure the subcontractor has filed a public works bond with the CCB. This information can be found on CCB’s website at www.oregon.gov/ccb (under the Contractor License Search section). ORS 279C.836(2)
Below you see what is happening in Maryland-----this bill is raising higher and higher the amount of leverage taken by businesses catagorized as small businesses. Above we saw a bill that will push most small business contractors out of business and stop new ones from forming and this bill below that seeks to raise the amounts of bonds and credit INSURED by the Federal, state, and local municipalities. The American people are about to be taken out economically by a collapsing bond market from just this kind of leverage-----and we see the Baltimore politicians pushing bills to make that leverage higher in exchange no doubt for a bill killing the chances of all small business contractors to bid on prevailing wage and for Baltimore citizens getting paid the prevailing wage.
WE WILL KILL PREVAILING WAGE IN BALTIMORE FOR EVER MORE LEVERAGE COVERAGE BY TAXPAYERS FOR JOBS TOO COSTLY TO BE CONSIDERED BY SMALL BUSINESSES.
HOUSE BILL 844C85lr2157
By: Delegates Branch, Barron, Brooks, Carter, C.Howard, Jones, Kipke, McCray, Morales, Morhaim, Oaks, Pena–Melnyk, B.Robinson,Rosenberg, Vaughn, M.Washington, and C.Wilson
Introduced and read first time: February 13, 2015
Assigned to: Economic Matters
A BILL ENTITLED
AN ACT concerning Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority –Small Business Surety Bond Program
FOR the purpose of increasing the maximum amount that the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority may guarantee a surety under the Small Business Surety Bond Program; increasing the maximum amount of certain bonds that the Financing Authority may execute and perform as a surety under its surety program; and generally relating to the Maryland Small Business Development Financing Authority.BY repealing and reenacting, with amendments,Article –Economic Development Section 5–568 and 5–569 Annotated Code of Maryland (2008 Volume and 2014 Supplement) SECTION 1. BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF MARYLAND, That the Laws of Maryland read as follows:Article –Economic Development 5–568.(a)The Authority may guarantee a surety up to the lesser of 90% or [$1,350,000]$2,250,000of its loss under a bid bond, payment bond, or performance bond on a contract financed by the federal government, a state government, a local government, a private entity, or a utility that the Public Service Commission regulates.
This is why the contracting bid and award system is so messed up in Baltimore. It creates great poverty for most of black citizens as it allows black businesses and owners willing to get involved in all of the fraud, corruption, and pay-to-play-----pushing and passing all of these laws that are killing Equal Protection and Rule of Law in Maryland.
THESE TWO BILLS ABOVE SHOW WHY WEALTH INEQUITY EXISTS IN MARYLAND----WHY WE HAVE THE 'RICH' BLACK CITIZENS INVOLVED IN ALL OF WHAT IS CLEARLY ILLEGAL POLICY THAT TIES MARYLAND AND BALTIMORE TAXPAYERS FOR REVENUE LOSES----PUBLIC MALFEASANCE.
Tying Federal, state, or local guarantees to ever higher risks of default is exactly what the subprime mortgage fraud was about-----it is what this current bond market fraud is about-----and it shows these pols have no intention of stopping. It creates this dynamic of global corporations controlling the economy with a small club of lesser businesses allowed to play. These lesser businesses will be killed by the big guys after these pols pass all the laws that kill the ability of the people to work and have their own businesses.
HOPKINS' GOAL IS TO HAVE ALL ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN THE HANDS OF THE RICH AND ARE USING THIS SMALL GROUP OF PAY-TO-PLAY BUSINESS-OWNERS TO VOTE FOR THE LAWS TO DO IT.
Below you see that there is uproar across the city as Enterprise Zones ignore all of the requirements of low-income housing, hiring of low-income businesses, making low-income residents small business owners. All of this undermines Baltimore's ability to lift people and have a stable economy. So, this small group of pay-to-play Baltimore business owners push laws that will hurt the future citizens of Baltimore wanting to be that small business contractor or business person and these people are working to allow prevailing wage and minimum wage laws be circumvented further impoverishing the citizens of Baltimore.
NONE OF THIS NEEDS TO HAPPEN.
It all centers on the use of fees to subjugate a healthy process to corruption.
Below you see all of Baltimore's City Council and Maryland Assembly pols pretending to be protecting their constituents AFTER a decade of complete disregard to Enterprise Zone contractual requirements to the Federal government. Baltimore citizens have never been more impoverished and this is why Baltimore has third world poverty, crime, and violence.
East Baltimore delegation calls for stop to EBDI project
State and city officials say minority hiring falls short of goals
May 30, 2012|By Lorraine Mirabella, The Baltimore Sun
Elected officials from East Baltimore want to block the $1.8 billion urban renewal project in Middle East until more neighborhood residents and minority contractors are hired and displaced residents can benefit from the revitalization.
Members of the Eastside Leadership Team criticized the 88-acre project for what they said was slow progress and a poor record of minority hiring during a news conference Wednesday outside the offices of East Baltimore Development Inc, the nonprofit leading the large-scale redevelopment just north of Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The group of state senators, delegates, City Council members and former officials said they intend to halt agreements and block legislation, permits and zoning changes needed to advance the plans. They also intend to sign on as plaintiffs in an existing lawsuit against state agencies to stop a $99 million state health laboratory that's under construction on the site.
"We're giving EBDI a vote of no confidence," and calling for a stop to new construction, contracts or hiring, "until our goals are met," state Sen. Nathaniel McFadden said.
The project displaced 800 families from what was a blighted neighborhood. Some moved to newly rehabbed rowhouses nearby.
Hundreds of houses were razed to make way for 1,500 to 2,000 new and renovated residential units and up to 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. One office building and several apartment buildings have been completed.
An additional $300 million worth of projects are under construction or nearing completion, including the state health laboratory, a 351-unit graduate student housing tower and a garage with a Walgreens drugstore. Plans also call for a state-of-the-art elementary school, a grocery store and restaurants, additional office buildings, a park lined with loft-style apartments and a hotel.
But over 10 years the work, for which EBDI has partnered with Johns Hopkins and master developer Forest City East Baltimore Partnership, has yet to deliver promised new housing and jobs, critics said.
Chris Shea, president and chief executive of EBDI, stood along with spectators during the event. Afterward, he said that the organization has listened to community concerns and has worked to improve its hiring practices.
"Their frustration is genuine. It's real," Shea acknowledged. "EBDI understands and supports the elected officials."
On Wednesday, the Eastside Leadership Team joined the chorus of criticism for the project.
"We're going to slow this train down," state Del. Talmadge Branch said. "There are too many contractors bringing in employees from other parts of Maryland."
Branch likened the project to "having an event in your backyard, but you can't come to the event. You can't come to the party. You can't work and businesses here can't get a contract. … It's not right and it's not fair."
He cited an analysis of hiring for the state's lab project that showed that of the $57.5 million in contracts awarded so far, only $13.4 million went to businesses in Baltimore and only $4.4 million to local minority-owned businesses. To reach the original inclusion goals laid out for the overall redevelopment project, an additional $28 million of contracts would need to be awarded to minority businesses, Branch said.
Shea called the goals "aspirational," saying in an email that the agreement was laid out before the EBDI was even formed and a developer chosen.
"The elected officials and EBDI mutually agreed last fall that it was obsolete and needed to be revised and brought into alignment with the actual development," Shea wrote.
He said EBDI has been working with elected officials to draft a revision.
With the millions of dollars flowing into the neighborhood, City Councilman Warren Branch said, "there should be no one in East Baltimore looking for employment. I'm tired of seeing … outside contractors and outside workers flourishing while the community suffers, overlooked as if they don't exist. We want our fair share of construction contracts."
Councilman Carl Stokes noted that more than 80 percent of the workers who built the soon-to-open graduate student apartment tower lived outside the city, with less than 8 percent from East Baltimore.
"We are standing in solidarity that the project cannot go any further," said Council PresidentBernard C. "Jack" Young. "We want jobs, and meaningful jobs."
Michael Saunders, who grew up in the neighborhood and came to Wednesday's event, said afterward that he had expected more opportunity for his construction business, Maryland Roll Off Recycling. But he received only one contract, two years ago, he said.
The EBDI's Shea said minority contractors from the neighborhood will be overseeing several coming projects, including the construction of the school, hotel and retail project and the renovation of 25 vacant rowhouses into market-rate housing.
A Republican pol below calls what is corrupt and damaging legislation---PROGRESSIVE. None of what is done in Maryland regarding economic development meets the Democratic Platform and is REGRESSIVE. These bills that are against public interest and kill competitive and open contract bidding processes are supported by Baltimore's black politicians who are largely part of the Small Business Authority. This exchange of policy that enriches a few is what kills the ability of the economy of the state and especially the economy of Baltimore to be healthy. This State Center project has public land tied to tons of bond leverage that will default into the hands of private investment firms included in these deals. This is why O'Malley created these deals and it will take hundreds of millions more of taxpayer money and even more public assets. The State will lease office space from a private investment firm rather than own this building----IT IS CRAZY.
THAT IS THE ONLY REASON FOR THESE DEALS THAT O'MALLEY AND JOHNS HOPKINS SENDS THESE POLS TO PASS LAW.
These laws can be vacated because they are illegal but the damage done as they push these deals forward are harder to reverse. Handing yet another section of Baltimore City Center to a bunch of national and global corporate chains as an anchor of development that will look just like downtown. One national chain corporation after another as all of the state and city's development money moves away from simply subsidizing Baltimore City residents with good small businesses.
So, Baltimore Maryland Assembly pols are largely the crowd connected to the Baltimore Small Business Authority creating an ever smaller cliche of people able to have a small business and receive government contract funding to do it and in exchange for being in the cliche they vote for all of these absolutely horrible policies simply consolidating power and control to global corporations that will impoverish Baltimore's citizens and soak the people with taxes, fees, and fines.
House approves public-private partnership bill, threatening pending State Center lawsuit
By Justin Snow
Published on March 27th, 2012 | by Len Lazarick
The House of Delegates approved a controversial bill backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley that would better define the state’s policy on public-private partnerships for major construction projects after a spirited debate on Monday.
An artist's rendering of the finished State Center project.
The bill, originally backed by the O’Malley administration and written by a task force that looked at improving public-private partnerships, would provide an improved process for the state to review and coordinate infrastructure project proposals from private developers.
CORRECTION: However, there was fierce debate in the House chamber over a committee amendment adopted Saturday that would expedite the legal process for the defendants of public-private partnership lawsuits. This amendment would allow them to go directly to the state’s second highest court, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, without having to first go to the circuit court.
If approved by the Senate, the amended bill would retroactively affect a lawsuit currently pending in the courts against the $1.5 billion State Center development project in downtown Baltimore. The new complex would replace dated government buildings with offices leased to state agencies as well as apartments and shops.
The project has been on hold since December 2010 when a group of Baltimore landlords and business owners, called the Coalition to Save Downtown Baltimore, filed a lawsuit against the state claiming the project was not competitively bid and would have a devastating impact on properties in the downtown area, which have struggled with high vacancy rates for years.
Opponents argued the bill would effectively eliminate the pending lawsuit and deny the right of business owners to have their day in court.
Although the chamber approved the legislation 81-52 on Monday, opponents attempted to halt the bill one last time, saying it would open the door to corruption and shady deals.
“This modern, progressive General Assembly is ready to vote against transparency, against competitive bidding, against disclosure, and we are ready to vote for shadow government in the 21st century,” declared Del. Patrick McDonough, R-Baltimore County, adding that taxpayers would end up footing the bill as state agencies would pay $36 per square foot for office space built by the state.
“Shame, shame, shame,” McDonough thundered, before calling the bill a “disgrace.”
Opposition was echoed on the other side of the aisle by Montgomery County Democrat Luiz Simmons, who said arguments from supporters that the development would create jobs were no different from arguments he heard when the legislature was battling corruption in the 1970s upon his arrival. Simmons said some people never learn.
“This is a casual and suspect sweetheart arrangement that is going to be confirming special favors,” declared Simmons. “We are sowing the seeds of corruption.”
Speaking to MarylandReporter.com after the House vote, the attorney for the lawsuit plaintiffs, Alan Rifkin, said the retroactive amendment was a blatant attempt to end-run a matter still pending before the courts and prevent facts from emerging in a public trial.
“It’s an affront to the integrity of the entire judicial system and clearly intended to affect one and only one piece of litigation,” Rifkin stated.
Rifkin said that if the bill passes the Senate, the group will challenge the legislation’s constitutionality in court.