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O’Malley Asks For Review Of Procurement Process

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Gov. Martin O’Malley said Wednesday he wants to bring in outside help to review Maryland’s procurement process for state contracts after repeated problems that agencies have experienced in bidding out for services over the years.

O’Malley’s comments at a Board of Public Works meeting were made as the board extended a $4.3 million contract extension for a company to run a call center that takes questions about child support payments. The extension is needed because the process that was used to hire a new contractor was found to be deeply flawed by the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals.

“We just have got to start fixing this,” the governor said. “We can’t keep whistling by these incidents and pretending like this is Maryland at its best.”

O’Malley said he wants to confer with a national group of state contract procurement officials for guidance.

“Let’s talk to that national association, pull this apart and tell us how we can put it back together in a way that prevents fraud and abuse, but also allows us to make more timely and intelligent, predictable procurements that also allow people to, you know, offer suggestions as to how they can improve the value of what we’re buying from them, whether it’s a service or a commodity or those sorts of things,” O’Malley said.

The Board of Public Works, whose three members include O’Malley, Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot, controls the state’s procurement policy. It also adopts procurement regulations and approves most state contracts higher than $200,000.

The governor said he would like to start by doing what he called “a hot wash” by bringing in people from major state departments who oversee procurements and examining what the biggest impediments are to getting things done.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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