State to seek procurement-law adviser
Legislative bureau to issue its request Friday for proposals from consultants
The Bureau of Legislative Research will seek proposals from consultants to help a legislative panel study the state’s procurement laws, regulations and procedures and recommend changes, a panel decided Wednesday.
The bureau will issue its request for proposals on Friday. The deadline for submitting proposals will be 4:30 p.m. Aug. 18, said Jill Thayer, legal counsel to bureau Director Marty Garrity.
“We looking for someone who can give you an impartial overview of the entire procurement process and the laws and the rules and regulations that are applied in order for you to determine whether there are any changes that need to be made legislatively,” Thayer told the Legislative Council’s Review Subcommittee.
Afterward, a subcommittee co-chairman, Rep. Jon Eubanks, R-Paris, said the cost won’t be known until companies submit their proposals.
The review of procurement laws comes in the aftermath of skirmishing by some lawmakers and Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s administration over various contracts. Those include a scrapped contract that the Department of Human Services proposed to have with an Indiana-based firm to run seven youth lockups, and the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery’s approved advertising contract with CJRW.
Sen. Jimmy Hickey, R-Texarkana, said in an interview that “we thought we could possibly have some flaws not only within the way that we procure certain goods and services, but also possibly with the way that we’re doing our selection criteria and we’re having those evaluators to look at things, so we thought that we should look at the whole thing.”
“I wouldn’t say that there has been any one contract that has caused that. I just think it has been multiple [contracts],” said Hickey.
As part of its rules adopted in May, the Legislative Council assigned to the Review Subcommittee a study of procurement laws, regulations and policies with a report to be presented to the council in December 2018, in advance of the 2019 regular session, according to the Bureau of Legislative Research.
The subcommittee was to look at the processes and requirements for requests for qualifications; responses to requests for proposals and for qualifications; and the impact of procurement processes on the legal, architectural, engineering, construction management and land surveying professions.
The subcommittee will review the consultants’ proposals during its Sept. 8 meeting and then decide which consultants will provide verbal presentations to the panel during its Sept. 13 meeting, Thayer said. The subcommittee will recommend which consultant that it wants the Legislative Council to hire during a council committee meeting Sept. 21, according to the bureau’s draft request for proposals.
The review of procurement laws comes in the aftermath of skirmishing by some lawmakers and Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s administration over various contracts.