The day – The State Contracting Standards Board will consider priorities if additional resources are obtained

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The chairman of the State Contracting Standards Board said Friday that with two recent steps taken by legislative committees, he “cautiously hopes” the board will make a lot of progress this year, but added that it hasn’t been done yet.

Chairman Lawrence Fox began looking to the future at Friday’s board meeting and said that – although the outcome is not yet decided – whether the watchdog agency gets funding for additional positions, she will have to determine what she wants to “proactively prioritize”.

“The mode we’ve been in is trying to respond to complaints and issues that we become aware of, but if we’re able to have the resources there are a number of things we can do proactively. and we can’t do it all at once,” Fox said. The board has 13 members and one vacancy; members are appointed by the governor and legislative leaders. The agency currently has two staff – a director executive and an intern – and requested funding for a purchasing manager, accounts reviewer, trainer, lawyer and research analyst for its staff.

The mission of the State Contracting Standards Board, established by the General Assembly in 2007, is “to require that state contracting and procurement requirements be understood and carried out in an open, cost-effective manner , effective, and in compliance with state and federal laws, rules, and regulations.”

Fox said it would be important to begin a strategic planning process if the state approves additional resources.

He briefed the council on two legislative committee actions and said he will hear more at the May council meeting as the legislature is expected to adjourn in early May. Council meetings are generally held on the second Friday of each month.

As part of a proposed budget, the General Assembly Appropriations Committee this week approved $454,355 for the five positions requested by the State Contracting Standards Board, The Associated Press reported. “With a tax package passed on Wednesday, it will become the basis for closed-door negotiations between the General Assembly and Democratic Governor Ned Lamont, who unveiled his budget proposal in February,” the AP article said.

The Government Administration and Elections Committee passed out of committee a bill, which has yet to go to parliament, which calls for a number of provisions for the agency, including that it oversee quasi-state agencies , Fox said.

Fox said the proposal would enshrine in state law that agencies, when issuing a request for proposals, inform each potential contractor of their right to appeal to the State Contracting Standards Board if the contractor thinks something is wrong. thing is problematic in the process and that the contractor also has the right to appeal once a contractual decision is made. He said he thought it would be very helpful to enshrine in state law that this is a responsibility of any contracting agency, including the Office of Policy and Management and the Department of Administrative Services.

Governor Ned Lamont’s budget proposal in February included $218,770 for three additional auditors for the separate agency’s public accounts auditors, which would “enhance state auditors’ ability to review agency contracts.” ‘State in a non-partisan manner while ensuring efficiency and cost savings. to the state,” a Lamont spokesperson said. The proposal provided standstill funding for the State Procurement Standards Board, which would be able to refer cases to auditors.

Lawmakers have proposed bills regarding the State Contracting Standards Board, and Lamont told The Day’s editorial board last month that “I have to get it,” and he doesn’t ” would ultimately “not oppose” legislation for full funding of the board.

Strategic planning

If funding is approved, Fox said a priority will be to set up staff committees with board members to expedite the hiring process for future staff.

State Contracting Standards Board Executive Director David Guay has planned to retire at the end of June, but Fox said he will enter into discussions with the administration to allow Guay to stay on for a transition period.

Fox offered to hold a strategic retreat, the day of the board meeting in June, to discuss board priorities.

Guay also reported at Friday’s meeting that the Connecticut Port Authority had adopted a procurement manual developed in consultation with the State Contracting Standards Board, which Fox called a “good result” of the board’s investigation into authority.

Lauren Gauthier, board member, provided an update on two motions the board passed last month seeking input from the state attorney general’s office on the port authority’s ability to enter into agreements. public-private partnerships and the legitimacy of the port development deal which involves the redevelopment project at State Pier, which will be used by the offshore wind industry, in New London. She said she sent the requests and the attorney general’s office asked for information. She said Guay had sent the information to the office and council was waiting for a response.

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