(a) You must ensure that only firms certified as eligible DBEs under this section participate as DBEs in your program.
(b) You must determine the eligibility of firms as DBEs consistent with the standards of subpart D of this part. When a UCP is formed, the UCP must meet all the requirements of subpart D of this part and this subpart that recipients are required to meet.
(1) You must take all the following steps in determining whether a DBE firm meets the standards of subpart D of this part:
(i) Perform an on-site visit to the firm's principal place of business. You must interview the principal officers and review their résumés and/or work histories. You may interview key personnel of the firm if necessary. You must also perform an on-site visit to job sites if there are such sites on which the firm is working at the time of the eligibility investigation in your jurisdiction or local area. You may rely upon the site visit report of any other recipient with respect to a firm applying for certification;
(ii) Analyze documentation related to the legal structure, ownership, and control of the applicant firm. This includes, but is not limited to, Articles of Incorporation/Organization; corporate by-laws or operating agreements; organizational, annual and board/member meeting records; stock ledgers and certificates; and State-issued Certificates of Good Standing
(iii) Analyze the bonding and financial capacity of the firm; lease and loan agreements; bank account signature cards;
(iv) Determine the work history of the firm, including contracts it has received, work it has completed; and payroll records;
(v) Obtain a statement from the firm of the type of work it prefers to perform as part of the DBE program and its preferred locations for performing the work, if any.
(vi) Obtain or compile a list of the equipment owned by or available to the firm and the licenses the firm and its key personnel possess to perform the work it seeks to do as part of the DBE program;
(vii) Obtain complete Federal income tax returns (or requests for extensions) filed by the firm, its affiliates, and the socially and economically disadvantaged owners for the last 3 years. A complete return includes all forms, schedules, and statements filed with the Internal Revenue Service.
(viii) Require potential DBEs to complete and submit an appropriate application form, except as otherwise provided in § 26.85 of this part.
(2) You must use the application form provided in Appendix F to this part without change or revision. However, you may provide in your DBE program, with the written approval of the concerned operating administration, for supplementing the form by requesting specified additional information not inconsistent with this part.
(3) You must make sure that the applicant attests to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information on the application form. This shall be done either in the form of an affidavit sworn to by the applicant before a person who is authorized by State law to administer oaths or in the form of an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States.
(4) You must review all information on the form prior to making a decision about the eligibility of the firm. You may request clarification of information contained in the application at any time in the application process.
(d) When another recipient, in connection with its consideration of the eligibility of a firm, makes a written request for certification information you have obtained about that firm (e.g., including application materials or the report of a site visit, if you have made one to the firm), you must promptly make the information available to the other recipient.
(f) Subject to the approval of the concerned operating administration as part of your DBE program, you may impose a reasonable application fee for certification. Fee waivers shall be made in appropriate cases.
(g) You must safeguard from disclosure to unauthorized persons information gathered as part of the certification process that may reasonably be regarded as proprietary or other confidential business information, consistent with applicable Federal, state, and local law.
(1) Once you have certified a DBE, it shall remain certified until and unless you have removed its certification, in whole or in part, through the procedures of § 26.87 of this part, except as provided in § 26.67(b)(1) of this part.
(2) You may not require DBEs to reapply for certification or undergo a recertification process. However, you may conduct a certification review of a certified DBE firm, including a new on-site review, if appropriate in light of changed circumstances (e.g., of the kind requiring notice under paragraph (i) of this section or relating to suspension of certification under § 26.88), a complaint, or other information concerning the firm's eligibility. If information comes to your attention that leads you to question the firm's eligibility, you may conduct an on-site review on an unannounced basis, at the firm's offices and job sites.
(i) If you are a DBE, you must inform the recipient or UCP in writing of any change in circumstances affecting your ability to meet size, disadvantaged status, ownership, or control requirements of this part or any material change in the information provided in your application form.
(1) Changes in management responsibility among members of a limited liability company are covered by this requirement.
(2) You must attach supporting documentation describing in detail the nature of such changes.
(3) The notice must take the form of an affidavit sworn to by the applicant before a person who is authorized by state law to administer oaths or of an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States. You must provide the written notification within 30 days of the occurrence of the change. If you fail to make timely notification of such a change, you will be deemed to have failed to cooperate under § 26.109(c).
(j) If you are a DBE, you must provide to the recipient, every year on the anniversary of the date of your certification, an affidavit sworn to by the firm's owners before a person who is authorized by State law to administer oaths or an unsworn declaration executed under penalty of perjury of the laws of the United States. This affidavit must affirm that there have been no changes in the firm's circumstances affecting its ability to meet size, disadvantaged status, ownership, or control requirements of this part or any material changes in the information provided in its application form, except for changes about which you have notified the recipient under paragraph (i) of this section. The affidavit shall specifically affirm that your firm continues to meet SBA business size criteria and the overall gross receipts cap of this part, documenting this affirmation with supporting documentation of your firm's size and gross receipts (e.g., submission of Federal tax returns). If you fail to provide this affidavit in a timely manner, you will be deemed to have failed to cooperate under § 26.109(c).
(k) If you are a recipient, you must make decisions on applications for certification within 90 days of receiving from the applicant firm all information required under this part. You may extend this time period once, for no more than an additional 60 days, upon written notice to the firm, explaining fully and specifically the reasons for the extension. You may establish a different time frame in your DBE program, upon a showing that this time frame is not feasible, and subject to the approval of the concerned operating administration. Your failure to make a decision by the applicable deadline under this paragraph is deemed a constructive denial of the application, on the basis of which the firm may appeal to DOT under § 26.89.
(l) As a recipient or UCP, you must advise each applicant within 30 days from your receipt of the application whether the application is complete and suitable for evaluation and, if not, what additional information or action is required.
(m) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, if an applicant for DBE certification withdraws its application before you have issued a decision on the application, the applicant can resubmit the application at any time. As a recipient or UCP, you may not apply the waiting period provided under § 26.86(c) of this part before allowing the applicant to resubmit its application. However, you may place the reapplication at the “end of the line,” behind other applications that have been made since the firm's previous application was withdrawn. You may also apply the waiting period provided under § 26.86(c) of this part to a firm that has established a pattern of frequently withdrawing applications before you make a decision.