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Gray Criticized over CBE Task Force Selections

3/22/2013, 1:51 p.m.

Mayor Vincent Gray has been criticized over the 17 names he's selected for an informal task force aimed at helping him reform the District's minority contracting system.

The panel, which was announced March 20 and includes major contractors, developers and lobbyists, involves the widely disparaged Certified Business Enterprise program, which requires that small and minority owned D.C. businesses get a percentage of all D.C.-funded procurements.

"I have faith that this group of highly accomplished leaders representing a cross-section of the District's business community will provide my administration with immense help in ensuring we achieve that goal," Gray said. "We need to pass CBE reform legislation that is workable, effective and broadly accepted."

But Gray's choices -- many of whom work for companies with close ties to the CBE program - have come under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest.

And, according to government watchdog Dorothy Brizill, they're not reformers.

"Their sole purpose will be to protect their own vested interests, which are not the same interests of the average D.C. resident and taxpayer," Brizill said.

The advisory panel consists of:

* Margaret Singleton: D.C. Chamber of Commerce

* Deryl McKissack: McKissack & McKissack

* Donna Shuler: Answer Title

* Natalie Ludaway: Leftwich & Ludaway LLC

* Pam Bundy Foster: Bundy Development Corp.

* Loretta Caldwell: L.S. Caldwell & Associates Inc.

* Rod Woodson: Holland & Knight LLP

* Bill Alsup: Hines

* Merrick Malone: The Robert Bobb Group

* Ernie Jarvis: First Potomac Realty Trust

* Alberto Gomez: Prince Construction Co.

* Luc Brami: Gelberg Signs

* Jim Anglemyer: WCS Construction

* Pedro Alphonso: Dynamic Concepts Inc.

* Adrian Washington: Neighborhood Development Corp.

* Brad Fennell: William C. Smith & Co.

* Jair Lynch: Jair Lynch Development Partners

(Sources: Washington Business Journal, Washington Business Journal)