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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Who's your Daddy?

State Auditor: SCC contract award OK, but purchasing rules still unclear
The State Corporation Commission is essentially the state's fourth branch of government, created by the state constitution and not subject to all the same rules as the rest of Virginia state government. It regulates businesses, including utilities.

A 2009 "eFile" contract for technological services with CGI, a major IT company, increased via eight modifications from $2.9 million to $6.9 million. The SCC determined that there was "no outside influence exerted" in the approval of a $28.5 million "Commission 2.0" contract, awarded last year to CGI for a major SCC systems upgrade.

Four former SCC employees specifically said the executive head of the SCC steered contracts to CGI, approved large post-award price increases and rebuffed their concerns over protocol. The latest State audit found no evidence of favoritism in the State Corporation Commission's award of the major technology contract, but repeats a more than 2-year-old suggestion that the commission  "clarify what procurement rules and regulations apply to them as an independent department of government."

SCC spokesman Ken Schrad said "Legal considerations remain that must be addressed because of the constitutional nature of the SCC as an independent department of state government." Schrad pointed to multiple reviews, both internal and from the state auditor, that found no evidence of contract tampering.
It seems to be a repetitive story that the more we take the procurement leg irons off any particular government spenders, the more the paranoia rises that we should put hand cuffs on them. No-bid contracts are the chief vehicle for creating this distrust, which is lodged in basic and simple notions of fair and equitable treatment, accountability and transparency.

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