McDuffie Introduces Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) and First Source Bill to Address Transparency, Accountability, and Compliance

Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie Introduces Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) and First Source Bill to Address Transparency, Accountability, and Compliance

Legislation would create an independent Chief Compliance Officer

Councilmember McDuffie: “When it comes to compliance, the CBE program is broken.”

Washington, DC – Today, Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie, Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development, introduced the Independent Compliance Office Establishment Act of 2019 [B23-471]. The legislation would create a new independent Office of the Chief Compliance Officer which would have purview of certification and enforcement over the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program and First Source employment program. Those programs are currently located within the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DLSBD) and the Department of Employment Services (DOES), respectively.

The new Chief Compliance Officer will serve a six-year term and be tasked with ensuring that DC government agencies are meeting their required threshold for contracting with CBEs, as well as ensuring that any waivers to those requirements are available for public review. Additionally, the new office will enforce, monitor and ensure compliance with the District’s First Source employment program which last year was found by the DC Auditor to be “less than one-fifth…effectively implemented.”

With introduction of this legislation, Councilmember McDuffie said:

“Since becoming Chair of the Committee on Business and Economic Development in 2017, I have provided much needed and focused oversight over the Department of Small and Local Business Development including numerous roundtables and public hearings regarding DSLBD’s performance—particularly as it relates to enforcement of CBE participation requirements.

Despite these efforts, public confidence in the Department’s ability to fulfill its compliance and enforcement functions continues to erode. In hearing after hearing, and in my numerous interactions with CBE owners, a common theme emerges: when it comes to compliance, the CBE program is broken.”