(1) After notice and an opportunity to be heard, the commissioner, acting by and through the department, may determine that a contractor, subcontractor or employer is debarred or ineligible to receive public works contracts for a period of up to three years. A contractor, subcontractor or employer, regardless of entity form, will be determined to be ineligible if the employer aggravatedly, willfully, or with gross negligence violates the provisions of Title 18, chapter 2, MCA, including but not limited to, actions such as:
(a) failing or refusing to pay the prevailing rate of wages to employees employed on public works projects;
(b) failing to respond to inquiries from the department to supply necessary payroll information and generally failing to cooperate in the investigation of the prevailing wage investigation; or
(c) submitting falsified payroll information to the department.
(2) Before placing a contractor, subcontractor or employer on the ineligible debarment list, the commissioner shall serve a notice of intended action upon the contractor, subcontractor or employer in the same manner as service of a summons or by certified mail, return receipt requested. The notice will include:
(a) a reference to 18-2-432 , MCA;
(b) a short and concise statement of the matter(s) constituting a violation of Title 18, chapter 2, MCA;
(c) a statement of the party's right to request a contested case hearing and to be represented by counsel at such hearing, provided that any such request must be received by the commissioner in writing within 20 days of service of the notice;
(d) a statement that the party's name will be published on a list of persons ineligible to receive public works contracts or subcontracts, unless the party requests a contested case hearing; and
(e) a statement that failure to make written request to the commissioner for a contested case hearing within the time specified constitutes a waiver of the right to a hearing.
(3) If a contractor, subcontractor or employer makes a timely request for a contested case hearing, a hearing will be held in accordance with the Montana Administrative Procedure Act.
(4) Upon the failure of the contractor, subcontractor or employer to request a contested case hearing within the time specified, the commissioner or the commissioner's designee shall enter an order supporting the ineligibility action.
(5) Debarment applies both to a firm and individuals. In the case of a firm, it may be applied against any or all businesses in which a firm has involvement (i.e., joint ventures) , or over which it has ownership or control (i.e., subsidiaries) . In the case of an individual, debarment may be applied to and enforced against any and all businesses in which the individual has any level of interest, ownership or control.
(6) If debarred by the federal government or any Montana government agency, a person may not bid on or otherwise participate in any public works project or contract in any capacity (prime contractor, subcontractor, supplier, etc.) , including as a separate contractor, until after the completion of the entire debarment period, whether or not the department debars the individual. Debarment proceedings may continue even if the person ceases doing business during the proceedings.
(7) If an individual is debarred by any agency of the federal government for any period, the department may debar the individual for a period up to that set by the federal government without need for further debarment proceedings. The only evidence required in a debarment hearing in a case based on an existing debarment will be a certified copy of an order, agency letter, or other final action declaring the debarment in the other jurisdiction. Presence of a certified order does not preclude the individual from presenting evidence to dispute the proposed debarment or its length. If the individual is debarred by a branch or agency other than of the Montana or federal governments (i.e., another state, a county, etc.) , or if the department may wish a debarment period exceeding that set by the other Montana agency or federal government, the department must hold debarment proceedings before increasing the debarment period.
(8) As used in this rule and ARM 24.17.817, the following definitions apply:
(a) "Aggravatedly" means circumstances that, in conjunction with an act or omission in violation of Title 18, chapter 2, MCA, serve to increase the magnitude, enormity or reprehensibleness of the offense, violation, injury or damage.
(b) "Debarment" is an action taken or decision made by an agency, other than temporary determinations of nonresponsibility or suspension, that excludes a person from bidding on or participating in public works projects and contracts.
(c) "Substantial financial interest" means:
(i) an ownership interest, whether directly or indirectly, of at least 20% of the entity; or
(ii) control over the entity, whether directly or indirectly applied, that is greater than any other single person or entity with an ownership interest.
(d) "Willfully" means that the act is done or omitted with a purpose or willingness to commit the act or make the omission. It does not require any intent to violate the law or to gain an advantage. The term has the same meaning as provided by 1-1-204 , MCA.
(e) "Gross negligence" means an action involving negligence in excess of ordinary negligence.