House Bill 4215, the Illinois College Procurement Reform Act, would allow public university boards of higher education to develop their own procurement rules. As it is, universities are required to follow regulatory processes outlined in the Illinois Procurement Code. State Rep. Mark Batinick has filed the house bill.You Paid For It: Univ. purchase rules cost millions
The procurement process is complicated and often requires universities to jump through administrative hoops, Batinick said. Some of the regulations include a strict approval process and competitive bidding requirements, Batinick said.
Paul Palian, NIU director of media and public relations said university officials would like to see the process streamlined to conserve time and resources and allow the school to attract the best options for business partners.
A law to prevent corruption has had some unexpected consequences, and it could be costing taxpayers millions. State Senator Chapin Rose (R-Champaign) said it’s gotten so bad, universities take advantage of opportunities to buy out of state.I feel pretty sure it's not about the pencil.
The university’s deputy comptroller Mike Bass said the university could run a cheaper, more efficient purchasing system on its own. He said it would still comply with all of the states transparency and ethics requirements. [But not competition, compliance and accountability ones?] "We should operate in the most nimble fashion that we can to get the job done for our constituents,” Bass said.
He said colleges often take higher bidders because of lower ones forget or have trouble filling out the dozens of forms required or because the system delays the actual purchase and prices go up. [Have you ever tried to apply to get in a college, or register, or change a class? Or teach, get tenure, get permission to obtain a grant in one? Educational institutions are amongst the most bureaucratic, yet authoritarian, institutions in the country, yet they can't run a simple procurement regime like the rest of government?]
Bass said colleges often take higher bidders because of lower ones forget or have trouble filling out the dozens of forms required or because the system delays the actual purchase and prices go up. "The whole procurement process can extend and when you do that, not only could the price point change but you could lose other competition,” Bass said.
Chief Procurement Officer for Higher Education Ben Bagby said there has been nothing to back up university claims of million dollar losses. He said the state is attempting to give exemptions for time sensitive grants. He said he isn’t convinced the university proposal will actually save money.
“We should be doing things right,” Bagby said. “The universities have not shown that moving to a separate procurement office will save money.”
"Those folks should be allowed to control their own destinies. Who cares that somebody in Springfield has to sign off a piece of paper to buy a pencil. Buy the pencil,” Sen. Rose said.