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State To Review Med Center Contract Award

The Board of Public Works this morning approved $9 million toward construction of a new operating room and laboratory at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, but not before requiring the hospital to submit to a review of its minority hiring practices.

The review was a response to complaints from Arnold Jolivet, managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, who alleged in a letter to the board that the hospital violated state law when it recruited a half-dozen firms to bid on the project, none of them minority-owned.

Rick Dunning, the hospital's senior vice president for facility construction, said the 19,000-square-foot project requires highly specialized work and noted that the winning contractor, Whiting Turner, is partnering with several minority-owned subcontractors.

The board, unable to quickly sort out what happened, agreed with a motion from Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) to approve the contract on the condition that a work group led by the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs look into the matter.

"They'll look at your process and at opening it up, so it breathes more life into the goals" of hiring minority firms, said Brown, who led the meeting.

By Lisa Rein  |  April 30, 2008; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  Lisa Rein  
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