On August 15, 2016 TCCRI submitted written testimony before the House State Affairs Committee regarding contract monitoring, compliance, performance evaluation and notification requirements for state contracting procedures.
Through Senate Bill 20 (84R, 2015) and certain provisions in Article IX of the General Appropriations Act (HB 1, 2015), the 84th Legislature enacted a series of reforms to the process and monitoring of state agency contracts. These actions can be seen partially as a response to allegations of impropriety in the award of contracts at a state agency, but also as part of broader efforts to improve the process of state procurement and deliver the best value possible to taxpayers.
While these were laudable efforts to improve state contracting and to improve oversight and transparency of the procurement process, many of the administrative requirements that they put in place continue a trend toward a prescriptive approach to contracting. Some of these new stipulations also appear to simply layer over, rather than repeal or reform, older statutory provisions. For instance, Section 11 of SB 20 adds that a state agency may bar a vendor from participating in a state contract for “repeated unfavorable performance reviews” or “repeated unfavorable classifications” under the Vendor Performance Tracking System. However, that section of the Government Code already allows a vendor to be barred based on “substandard performance under a contract with the state or a state agency.” It is unclear how substandard performance differs materially from unfavorable performance for procurement teams tasked with choosing a vendor, or what value this new requirement adds to the process.