CONNstruction - Winter 2008 - (Page 7)

newsandviews The Next Phase of Contracting Reform The State Contracting Standards Board moves into full swing in January. With the advantage of the work that several of its members performed as a modified board over the past couple of years, it will immediately begin working on programs that will improve all state procurement and directly benefit the construction industry. The construction industry has been advocating the benefits of a contracting standards board since the concept was first mentioned in Connecticut. The industry participated on the Governor’s Task Force on State Contracting Reform that initially recommended the board in 2004. Back then, the Task Force envisioned a board that would create and administer a uniform procurement code that would serve as a basis for all state contracting. The Task Force thought the board should be the centerpiece of what has become known as “clean contracting” legislation. While the clean contracting legislation took a couple years to make it through the legislative process, a modified board, which was created by an Executive Order of the Governor, worked through several arduous, but valuable, exercises. It examined the state agency contracting processes and made recommendations for improvement. It also analyzed the state procurement statutes and drafted a uniform procurement code that was proposed to the legislature, but failed to gain legislative approval. Now, employing the extensive work of the Executive Order Board combined with the powers granted to it under a state statute, the board is in a sound position to move into full service. Another significant advantage the board has at this point is that the interest to By Donald Shubert CCIA President CRBA Executive Secretary CRMCA Executive Director fight fraud and corruption in public procurement has moderated over the past four years, so the board can also devote resources to developing an efficient contracting system that preserves the integrity in the contracting process and saves the state money. The board is poised to focus on three effective programs. First, it plans to bring the state contracting agencies together and identify best practices to be shared across agencies. This is a smart method to help all agencies improve their procurement processes. Every state contractor that works with several agencies can identify the practices of one agency that would improve the practices of another. Sharing best practices would immediately yield benefits to agencies and contractors. Next it plans to improve the effectiveness of state contractor performance evaluations. It plans to accomplish this by creating objective evaluations that incorporate quantifiable measures. To enhance the effectiveness of the evaluations, it plans to create a central evaluation database that will inhibit poor performing state contractors from moving, unchecked, from one sector of public contracting to another. The construction industry has been looking forward to an objective and effective contractor evaluation process since the prequalification statute was initially enacted. Again, the Board is focusing on an area that would yield significant benefits. The Board also plans to identify the state procurement personnel who would benefit from training, and develop a training program to professionalize them. Providing training for state procurement personnel was one of the top recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on State Contracting Reform. Training procurement personnel would benefit all aspects of public contract administration. With time, the Board will become an integral part of state contracting. Over the next couple of years, it will obtain the power to terminate contracts, debar contractors, and hear appeals from bid protests. In 2010, it will be implementing the privatization provisions in the statute. The stakeholders in the construction industry are constantly discussing ways to improve state contracting. Now with a full Contracting Standards Board up and running, effective improvements are on the way. CONNstruction / Winter 2008 / 7

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Winter 2008

CONNstruction - Winter 2008
The Next Phase of Contracting Reform
A Return to Trust – Partnering
Building Our Future and Theirs
New “Green Buildings” Law Presents Opportunities and Challenges
Internet Searches and Job Applicants
First Impressions
ConnDOT Hosts the Nation’s Transportation Officials
Reducing our Environmental Footprint
Connecticut Apprenticeship Program Handles Industry Changes and Demands for New Workers
2008 Construction Career Days Program
Contractors Must Become More Diligent During Workers’ Compensation Rate Decline
UCAC General Membership Meeting/Lifetime Achievement Award
John “Jack” Costello Memorial Scholarship
Marvin Morganbesser’s Retirement Dinner
Index to Advertisers

CONNstruction - Winter 2008