DBE Certification Denial Appeals Process

DBE Certification Denial Appeal Process

Under the rules of the DBE Program, the Departmental Office of Civil Rights is responsible for processing all appeals of DBE certification denials. The rules specify the following appeals procedures:

Initial Processing

  1. Upon receipt of a written appeal, DOCR will review the incoming correspondence to determine whether the appeal was filed within 90 days from the date of denial or if an extension is warranted.
  2. If the appeal is filed within 90 days, DOCR will write to the appellant acknowledging receipt of the appeal.
  3. At the same time, DOCR will request in writing that the recipient who denied the certification provide copies of all documentation (including hearing transcripts, interviews, applications, etc.) used in making the determination not to certify the appellant.

Review of Documentation and Decision

  1. DOCR will review the information submitted by the recipient to determine whether the recipient properly applied the eligibility standards to the firm in accordance with the rules.
  2. Only the information originally available to the recipient will be considered during the appeal and the Department bases its decision solely on the administrative record. If any additional information or recent change of circumstances is reported, the potential DBE will be advised to reapply to the recipient, or the information will be referred to the recipient for review and consideration.
  3. After reviewing the documentation, DOCR will render one of the following decisions:
    1. The DBE is certified (overturning the denial by the recipient); or
    2. The DBE is not eligible to be certified, and is denied eligibility to participate in the program (upholding the decision of the recipient); or
    3. The case is remanded to the recipient for additional information and/or instruction.
  4. All decisions by the Department are administratively final.  If the Department upholds the recipient’s denial or removal of DBE certification and the firm still wishes to participate in the DBE program, the firm must reapply to the recipient within specified timeframes.
  5. DOCR will inform both the recipient and the appellant of the results of its decision. DOCR will also notify the Directors of Civil Rights in the Department’s Operating Administrations (for example, the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Transit Administration, etc.) and the Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) of the Department’s decision. The Directors of Civil Rights will ensure that appropriate field personnel are made aware of the decisions that would affect the program in their area.

At Becker & Poliakoff we are experienced in appealing DBE denials. Whether you are appealing informally to the agency which denied your certification or appealing to the Department of Transportation, we can help.

For help with your Florida DBE Certification application you can contact us at 305.260.1039.