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9 CHAPTER THREE GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES ORGANIZATION AND STAFFING each recipient agency it wished to work with. Much of the information was redundant; however, the formats and sub- The synthesis questionnaire collected general organizational mission details would often be different. With the UCP in information of individual DBE program functions and sizes. place, a DBE can be certified in one agency and have their The responses to these questions showed a marked varia- certification recognized by all agencies within that UCP. The tion in individual agency approaches to how an organization UCP section of the regulation requires that specific informa- should manage its DBE program. From an organizational per- tion and updates be provided to contractors and the public on spective, 3 of the 36 responding STAs placed the DBE pro- request. gram within their construction contract administration groups, whereas the remaining DBE organizations were located admin- Once the UCP is established, there are a number of activ- istratively within Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)/Civil ities and responsibilities that are required by the regulation Rights administrative units. In 58% (21 of 36) of the respond- (49 CFR 26.81, 2003), which are paraphrased as follows: ing STAs, the DBE program staff had complete responsibil- ity for all aspects of the program. In 36%, the central office Certification decisions by the UCP shall be binding on staff was assisted by resident engineers or other district-level all recipients within the state. personnel performing a variety of tasks, including The UCP shall provide "one-stop shopping" to appli- cants for certification, such that an applicant is required Reviewing overall contract compliance issues for EEO/ to apply only once for a DBE certification that will be DBE requirements, honored by all recipients in the state. Conducting field audits for DBE certifications, Subject to U.S.DOT approval, the recipients in two or Providing commercially useful function determination more states may form a regional UCP. The UCP may also enter into written reciprocity agreements with through project observations, and other UCPs. Conducting a preconstruction conference on EEO/DBE. Pending the establishment of the UCP, STAs can enter into agreements with other recipients, on a regional or The approach to managing the DBE program did not have interjurisdictional basis, to perform certification func- any apparent relationship to staff size. Staff sizes reported in tions, and they can approve reciprocity to other recipi- the survey varied significantly. A few STAs reported staffing ent's certification decisions. levels of 50 or more full-time employees, whereas others Each UCP shall maintain a unified DBE directory con- reported one or even no full-time employees. Other factors taining, for all firms certified by the UCP, the informa- identified in comments provided by STAs that could influ- tion required by Section 26.31. The UCP shall make the ence office staffing levels included directory available to the public on the Internet, as well as in print. The UCP shall update the electronic version Frequency of certification/recertification, of the directory by including additions, deletions, and Number of contracts with contract goals, other changes as soon as they are made. Method of contracting (size, complexity, etc.), and Services (i.e., training) provided by staff versus con- One of the key elements of the UCP section is the require- tracted consultants. ment for an electronically accessible directory of firms. Sec- tion 26.31 of the regulation requires that specific information (addresses, phone numbers, and types of work the firm has UNIFIED CERTIFICATION PROGRAM been certified to perform as a DBE) be maintained in the DBE directory. The requirements for implementing a unified certification pro- gram (UCP) were described in the 1999 revision to the reg- The requirements also state that the directory must be ulations and retained in the 2003 Final Rule. The revision updated annually. The information available on the certifica- required each state to develop a UCP. The certification process tion lists reported in the questionnaire was very consistent had been a problem for DBEs before the UCP program, when with the directory requirement. All respondents published a DBE would have to file applications for certification with the company and/or owner name, address, telephone, fax, and