Commission Urges Procurement Changes to Boost Local Business Participation

On July 1, the One Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission released its report, “Reforming State Procurement For Maryland Businesses,” to the Governor and Maryland General Assembly. The Commission was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2015 to improve local business participation in state procurement. The 22-member Commission included State and local government officials, procurement professionals, and business representatives from across the state.

After evaluating data derived from a survey of local businesses, a survey of procurement professionals, meeting discussions and procurement presentations, the Commission made the following recommendations:

  1. Improve the functionality of the State’s eProcurement system, eMaryland Marketplace, either by overhauling it or replacing it. Notably, it also suggests that all counties and state government entities be required to use the same revamped eProcurement system, for “uniformity, data integration and transparency.”
  2. Eliminate prohibitive business preferences within the State’s procurement system, and only use vendor qualifications when necessary.
  3. Simply the complexity of the State’s procurement processes; consolidate and standardize requirements.
  4. Improve the quality of bid documents.
  5. Unbundle large state contracts to increase competition for small businesses.
  6. Provide more human and technical resources for procurement professionals.
  7. Improve prompt payment requirements within State contracting.
  8. Allow offerors an opportunity to correct MBE submittal errors and still be deemed complete and responsive.

The report cites heavily from the Department of Legislative Services’ “Review of Maryland’s Procurement Policies and Structures” (November 2014).

Procurement commission followers should not confuse the One Maryland Blue Ribbon Commission with Governor Larry Hogan’s Commission to Modernize State Procurement, a bipartisan commission established on February 10, 2016 by Executive Order to review of Maryland’s procurement code and regulations. That commission is due to submit its final report by December 31, 2016.