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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Guam Procurement Reform -- An Approach

Recently, the Guam Business Magazine was kind enough to run an article I wrote for them suggesting a format for reforming the Guam procurement infrastructure.

To me, it seems the approach needs to be global, and the process methodical.

Before I go to this topic, however, I want to repeat "Seven Steps to Better Procurement", attributed to Professor Danielle M. Conway, Michael J. Marks Distinguished Professor of Business Law & Director, University of Hawai`i Procurement Institute:
1. Develop a fulltime, professional procurement staff in all departments: For most staff, state procurement is now an added responsibility to their usual duties.

2. Make salaries of procurement professionals competitive with private industry: You get what you pay for.

3. Recentralize supervision of procurement in the State Procurement Office: Decentralizing, which was meant to expedite the process, resulted in waste and fraud.

4. Remove exemptions from state procurement code: Far from promoting autonomy, granting exemptions from the code to certain agencies exposes them to litigation, waste and fraud.

5. Encourage, rather than discourage, reasonable protests of contract awards: A lively, expeditious protest system is our most effective way to check misconduct and inefficiency in the solicitation process.

6. Educate, educate, educate: And not only about Hawaii procurement laws, but about innovative procurement practices in the federal government and elsewhere. Remain open to novel or mainstream procurement innovations.

7. Invest time and resources in acquisition planning: Up-front planning will make for a smooth process during the formation and administration of a contract.
These are excellent goals and should guide our own efforts here on Guam to make better use of, and get more from, our procurement resources.

There could be many ways to start down the road to Guam procurement reform, but I believe the first two essential steps are institutional. My first priority would be to establish a Guam Procurement Institute, as I've mentioned in a prior post here.

Although of subordinate priority, at the same time I think we need a Guam Procurement Advisory Council. My proposal for that is filled out in the Guam Business Magazine article.

The article I've written is entitled Procurement Reform.

I'd hope those interested would click the link and read the whole article.

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