Posted by Barton Lorimor (@bartonlorimor)
* CMS director Malcolm Weems testified last week before the Procurement Policy Board in response to a Lee Enterprises story that included figures showing emergency no-bid purchases are way up.
From his remarks…
Of the 346 referenced emergencies for FY13, 164 were either extensions of existing contracts or below the small purchase threshold. if these two definitional changes were not made relative to the numbers prior to SB51, the actual count of emergencies would be 182 and would equate to FY11 numbers. The attention on this has not been an apple-to-apple comparison, and a constructive conversation on this topic needs to be effective.
From the Senate Bill Weems references…
a) Conditions for use. In accordance with standards set by rule, a purchasing agency may make emergency procurements without competitive sealed bidding or prior notice when there exists a threat to public health or public safety, or when immediate expenditure is necessary for repairs to State property in order to protect against further loss of or damage to State property, to prevent or minimize serious disruption in critical State services that affect health, safety, or collection of substantial State revenues, or to ensure the integrity of State records; provided, however, that the term of the emergency purchase shall be limited to the time reasonably needed for a competitive procurement, not to exceed 90 days. A contract may be extended beyond 90 days if the chief procurement officer determines additional time is necessary and that the contract scope and duration are limited to the emergency. Prior to execution of the extension, the chief procurement officer must hold a public hearing and provide written justification for all emergency contracts. Members of the public may present testimony. Emergency procurements shall be made with as much competition as is practicable under the circumstances. A written description of the basis for the emergency and reasons for the selection of the particular contractor shall be included in the contract file.
(b) Notice. Notice of all emergency procurements shall be provided to the Procurement Policy Board and published in the online electronic Bulletin no later than 3 business days after the contract is awarded. Notice of intent to extend an emergency contract shall be provided to the Procurement Policy Board and published in the online electronic Bulletin at least 14 days before the public hearing. Notice shall include at least a description of the need for the emergency purchase, the contractor, and if applicable, the date, time, and location of the public hearing. A copy of this notice and all documents provided at the hearing shall be included in the subsequent Procurement Bulletin.
As you can see, these changes in the statute do not expand on what qualifies as an emergency purchase. Rather, the changes involve how those contracts can be extended. The Governor’s Office says that is why the number appears to be so much higher.