Tag Archives: competitive

Haslam Bill Allows More State Contracts Without Competitive Bids

A bill in the Tennessee legislature could give the state’s new procurement officer broad discretion to award contracts without competitive bidding, according to the Tennessean. Critics say the change would upend decades of practice.
The state Senate is debating a bill that would let Tennessee’s top purchaser negotiate directly with suppliers whenever he or she determines that talks are “in the best interest of the state.”
The bill would delete a requirement now on the books that says negotiations can be used only when “the state is unable to obtain needed goods and/or services by competitive sealed bid.” The bill is part of a package of legislation put forth by Gov. Bill Haslam to streamline state government.
But the measure could also raise the threat of graft or patronage by giving one person too much power to award contracts without first putting them out to bid, said state Sen. Roy Herron, D-Dresden.
“To abandon our competitive bidding system in favor of unbridled, unchecked discretion is to invite abuse and greatly increase the potential for corruption,” he said. “We may or may not have competitive bidding on any program.”
Senate Bill 2218 would extend a 2010 law called the Procurement Act, which revamped how the state makes its purchases.
… Kelly Smith, an assistant commissioner and legislative liaison for the Department of General Services, said fears that the chief procurement officer would have unchecked powers were overblown because state laws would remain in place to set restrictions on who could receive contracts.
Vendors would still have to come off an approved list, contracts over $250,000 would still have to be approved by an outside board, and contractors could appeal decisions to a newly created committee.
“There’s no way a chief procurement officer could make deals with their best friend or anything like that,” Smith said.

TN Tops in Nation on ‘Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index’

Part of a Tennessean political notebook:
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a group that describes its philosophy as favoring free markets and limited government, has released a report that says Tennessee is the top state when it comes to its policies on public-sector unions.
In a report called the “Big Labor vs. Taxpayers Index” released just before Labor Day, CEI said Tennessee had the most pro-taxpayer laws in the nation, based on its analysis of factors such as participation in public-sector unions whether the state favors union labor in government contracts, and whether government workers can strike. Strong unions for government workers drive up labor costs at the taxpayers’ expense, CEI says.
CEI gave Tennessee a score of 36 out of a maximum 40 points possible. The state beat Utah for the group’s top ranking, with Idaho, Texas and Florida rounding out the top five.
CEI gave New York the lowest score.
Republican Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey touted the results over Twitter last week, saying he “couldn’t be prouder.”