Reforming the City’s broken procurement system
Reforming the City’s broken procurement system has been one of my main priorities this council term. Improving the process for awarding city contracts creates new accountability and transparency. Too often businesses that can deliver high quality service at competitive costs are put off from doing business with the City because our processes are onerous and confusing, we do not pay businesses in a timely manner, and there is a perception that the same businesses with an inside track get awarded contracts again and again.
I have focused on legislation that makes the procurement process more equitable, particularly for women and minority-owned business owners. In the first year of our term, the council has passed, or has pending, five important pieces of legislation that provide more access to small business owners that include:
- 21-0024 - Minority and Women’s Business Utilization – Emergencies – ensuring that city agencies are still considering and utilizing MBE/WBE contractors where possible for emergency procurements. (Enacted in March)
- 21-0039 - Local Hiring - Employment Plan – requiring contactors on large City-funded projects to have local hiring plans as part of their bid submission (Enacted in October)
- 21-0068 - Curing Mistakes in Bids – allows contractors to correct minor/technical defects in bids after submission (in committee)
- 21-0069 - Transparency in Procurement – Requires vendors on large city contracts ($100k or larger) to disclose certain information about their ability to perform the work required and their workforce as part of the bidding process (in committee)
- 21-0070 - Required Market Research – requiring agencies to conduct market research before determine there are no qualified MBE/WBE businesses that can perform on a contract (In committee)
Today, I sent a letter to Mayor Brandon Scott expressing my concerns that the administration has chosen to award Contract No. B50006206 to Civic Initiatives, LLC., a bidder with by far the lowest technical score (in fact the bare minimum acceptable technical score) when there were other reputable bidders who scored much higher and were priced competitively. Yet, the Board of Estimates voted to award this contract to Civic Initiatives 4-1 over my lone dissent.
This process is too important to get wrong. As Council President, it is my responsibility to push us in the direction we need to head as a city, and I am committed to working with the administration to ensure that we get this right.
Nick J. Mosby
City Council President
Deputy Director of Communications
Office of City Council President Nick J. Mosby