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(a) Dispute submitted. A contractor must submit any dispute arising under a contract to the Director. The using department may submit a dispute arising under the contract to the Director.
(b) Decision by Director. The Director must give the contractor and the using department a written decision approving or denying the dispute in whole or in part within 45 days after receiving the dispute. If the Director does not resolve the dispute within 45 days, the dispute is denied.
(c) Appeal to Chief Administrative Officer.
(1) The contractor or the using department may appeal the Director's decision resolving a dispute in writing to the Chief Administrative Officer within 30 days after receiving the Director's decision, or if no decision is rendered, within 75 days after submitting the dispute.
(2) The Chief Administrative Officer must decide the appeal after considering any written information submitted by the Director, using department, and the contractor.
(3) The Chief Administrative Officer may hold a hearing on the appeal. The Chief Administrative Officer must complete any hearing on the appeal within:
(A) 60 days after receiving the appeal for disputes involving less than $50,000;
(B) 90 days after receiving the appeal for disputes involving between $50,000 and $100,000; and
(C) 135 days after receiving the appeal for disputes involving more than $100,000.
(4) The Chief Administrative Officer may require the contractor and the using department to provide additional information about the dispute.
(5) The Chief Administrative Officer must give the contractor and the using department a written decision approving or denying the dispute in whole or in part within 30 days after receiving the appeal or, if a hearing is held, within 30 days after receiving the hearing officer's report. If the Chief Administrative Officer does not give the contractor and using department a written decision on the appeal within the applicable period, the dispute is denied.
(d) Appeal to court.
(1) The contractor may appeal the Chief Administrative Officer's decision to the Circuit Court under the Maryland Rules.
(2) The contractor or the County may appeal the decision of the Circuit Court to the Court of Special Appeals under State law.
(3) In the event of a statutory denial under subsection (b), the contractor or the County may file a legal action in a court of appropriate jurisdiction. That court must hear the case de novo.
(e) Consolidation of disputes. The Director or the Chief Administrative Officer may consolidate multiple disputes if:
(1) the disputes have common questions of law or fact; and
(2) the contractor or using department requests consolidation.
The time limits in this Section for the last dispute filed apply to any consolidated dispute.
(f) Extension of time. A contractor and the County may agree to extend any time limit in this Section.
(g) Alternative dispute resolution. A contractor and the County may agree to submit a dispute to mediation or binding arbitration at any time instead of using the administrative dispute resolution process in paragraphs (b), (c), and (d). (1994 L.M.C., ch. 30, § 1; 2010 L.M.C., ch. 7 , § 1.)
Editor’s note—Section 11B-35 is cited in Heery International, Inc. v. Montgomery County, 384 Md. 129, 862 A.2d 976 (2004).