Third MBE Chief in 3 Years Gone! City Fumbles Time and Money while MBEs Die

(BALTIMORE – June 21, 2021) – Alright. This news cannot wait any longer. It’s been more than a week but no one has uttered a word. The City of Baltimore has quietly lost yet another Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office (MWBOO) Chief. Lashella Miller, by all indications, has transferred to another position. She began in that role in September 2020.

Prior to her, Tamara Brown served in that role from December 2018 to September 2020.

Last week, a City Council hearing was held on an LGBTQ business enterprise inclusion plan. This was the third such committee hearing regarding this bill to include the LGBTQ community in the City’s procurement preference program.

Costs were thrown around as to how much this will take. The City’s finance department quoted costs for such a study.

The current disparity study, however, already has LGBTQ included.

In short, these three meetings were held in vain. And the entire bill proposed by Councilwoman Odette Ramos was for naught.

This is how our tax dollars are being wasted.

When a program as critical as this is treated so haphazardly, progress cannot be made. We have agencies that do not communicate with each other, and therefore cannot effectively enlighten our City Council members. If they were all on the same page, we wouldn’t have such blunders. More importantly, resources could be better spent on getting Black contractors business.

According to former chief Brown, “Former Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Executive Order drove me to include LGBTQ and veterans in the disparity study RFP that was awarded last year.”

She added, “This proves that one hand does not know what the other is doing in the City. While these public servants are being paid by our tax dollars, it appears that they are clueless. Imagine how many other oversights occur each and every day, and that is why the City is in the condition it is in today. And that’s the damn truth.”

She said, “The aspirational goal is 27% for Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and 10% for Women’s Business Enterprises (WBEs) in Baltimore City. However, we still do not know how the City is performing because they have no way to check the metrics.”

Brown said that the solution for this was implementing the B2G Now software that was awarded in 2019. Yet, the City has never utilized the software.