Emergencies under control

September 11, 2013 

The News-Democrat's editorial Sept. 3 about the increase in the state's emergency procurements relied on a story that got the facts wrong:

* "Emergency procurements" are not all "no-bid" contracts. When the Danville Correctional Center chiller breaks and a new one is needed immediately, bids are taken on the spot and the state takes the lowest price offered. It's emergency but not no-bid.

* A bill passed by the General Assembly in 2010 gave expanded authority to the state's chief procurement officers, who broadened the definition of what constitutes an "emergency." Factoring out the low-amount purchases and contract continuations that would not have been considered emergencies under the previous rules, the number last year would stand at 182, not 346.

* As Chief Procurement Officer Matt Brown told the Procurement Policy Board, every one of those 182 procurements was certified an emergency by one of the state's independent chief procurement officers.

We agree the state should be working even harder to lower the number of emergency procurements and that is why I sent a memo to all state agencies Feb. 1 laying out the limited justifications for emergency procurements and announcing a review of all emergency procurements.

State statute lays out strict guidelines that must be met to ensure state taxpayers get the best deal when we purchase goods and services. Those guidelines also ensure a chance for a wide variety of business to bid on those contracts.

As I told the state's Policy Procurement Board members, my office welcomes the chance to work with them and the state's procurement officers to reduce the number of emergency procurements.

Malcolm Weems

Director, Illinois Central Management Services

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