MDOT Restructures Procurement Upon Discovering Poor Contracting Practices

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Secretary’s Office is taking over procurement for the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), reports The Daily Record. The move comes months after MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn replaced former MTA Administrator Paul Comfort after concerns about the agency’s procurement of office furniture surfaced.

MDOT indicates that about $15 million has been paid to as many as 31 vendors without proper contract authority – including $5 million to seven vendors without any contracts at all.

In addition to centralizing MTA’s procurement within MDOT, the department also plans to hire an inventory control officer who will report to MDOT’s chief procurement officer, install new software to track contracts and payments and provide additional training to MTA employees.

The Daily Record quotes Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford’s comments to MDOT Deputy Secretary Jim Ports at today’s Board of Public Works meeting:

It’s sloppiness. This stuff is in the bowels of the organization and it takes time from the leadership, I know. I can fuss at you and fuss at the secretary but it means you’ve got to tell your people to burrow down into the bowels, the basement of your organization, and let them know. I truthfully don’t think it’s corruption. I think it’s sloppiness. I think it’s lack of education and I think it’s not looking out for the taxpayers’ dollars. The people who are doing these things don’t realize they are working with taxpayer dollars.