This principle is illustrated in the American Bar Association's Model Procurement Code, which calls for appointment of a Chief Procurement Officer. (MPC § 2-201.) It is the duty of the CPO to "procure or supervise procurement of all supplies, services, and construction needed by the" jurisdiction, and to "ensure compliance with" the procurement law and regulations of the jurisdiction. (MPC § 2-204(3).)
The MPC Commentary explains its rationale: "State and local public procurement systems are the means through which critical and strategic services, supplies and construction are purchased to support essential public functions. To operate effectively, it is imperative in those systems that there be central leadership to provide direction and cohesion. The Code’s drafters, in creating a central procurement official, do not intend to promote the idea that the day-to-day procurement functions must be performed directly out of the central office. It is expected that the Chief Procurement Officer will freely delegate his or her authority...." (Commentary to MPC § 2-301.)
This centralized authority is expected to make sure there is a common approach, "direction and cohesion", to procurement across all divisions and departments of a jurisdiction. It is an application of the old saying, united we stand, divided we fall, to the integrity of the procurement process.
The U.S. state of Maryland is, as suggested in the following article, having trouble coming to grips with that notion.
Procurement clash may be coming
First, the good news: Gov. Larry Hogan last week created a 19-member commission to come up with ways to fix Maryland’s maddeningly inefficient system for purchasing $7 billion worth of goods and services each year.Here comes the bad news: This group may wind up trying to re-invent the wheel because state legislators appear ready to pass legislation, based on three years of study, that could dramatically change state purchasing practices.
There’s no doubt Maryland’s now-antiquated and creaky procurement system needs an overhaul. What once was a national model in the 1980s for sensible and effective state purchasing practices is now a costly embarrassment.
Comptroller Peter Franchot has been on the warpath for years complaining about this “increasingly unworkable” and “broken” purchasing system “in dire need of reform.”
Lawmakers, especially Del. Dan Morhaim of Baltimore County, have been pushing for procurement reforms, too.
So why are the executive and legislative branches unable to synchronize their reform efforts? Hogan, on his part, appears to want full credit for any changes. He’s hesitant to work with legislators and seems to have ignored the extensive work already completed on procurement reform.
here’s a lingering sense Republican Hogan wants nothing to do with anything initiated by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, whom the current governor has indirectly criticized time and again while announcing his own reforms. Yet it was O’Malley who first took steps to revamp Maryland’s procurement system.
Back in 2012 O’Malley asked the Board of Public Works “to bring someone in to kick the tires” of the purchasing system. “We need to pull this apart and put it back together.” The board contracted with Treya Partners for a thorough study of Maryland’s procurement activities.
The consultant found fragmented oversight of procurement bidding and the ultimate awards, with multiple state agencies setting their own standards and procedures; conflicting and inconsistent interpretations of procurement practice; lax contract management; and poor relationships with state vendors.
Treya made 11 recommendations. After studying these proposals in 2014 and examining procurement laws in other states, the Department of Legislative Services backed many of Treya’s suggestions and added some of its own. Among the main recommendations to lawmakers: Create a Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) under the Board of Public Works and consolidate most procurement officials spread throughout state government under the CPO.
State purchasing would be centralized, uniform processes would be followed consistently and one official would be accountable for ensuring that Maryland gets the best deal and the best quality for dollars spent on services and supplies. It turns out Maryland is one of only a handful of states lacking a Chief Procurement Officer.
None of this is reflected in Hogan’s announcement. Nor is there any recognition that Democratic lawmakers are ready to turn into law many of these procurement recommendations.
Read more at the article link above.