Mayor Scott announces first step to reform the City's outdated procurement process - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Mar. 9, 2021 12:26 pm

Mayor Scott announces first step to reform the City’s outdated procurement process

Scott said Baltimore's procurement process is in need of a "complete overhaul." To start, the City will put out a request for proposals, seeking an outside firm to assess the policies and practices.
Baltimore’s skyline, from the water.

Baltimore's skyline, from the water.

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Mayor Brandon M. Scott said Monday that his administration is moving forward with a new effort to reform the City’s procurement process.

In the first move, the City is issuing a request for proposals from contractors to conduct an assessment of procurement policies and practices.

The city procurement process decides which businesses get contracts to perform city services, like cleaning city pools, or performs security at City Hall. The city procurement process has long been an area identified by advocates, including those in the tech community, pushing for structural reforms. Technical.ly asked mayoral candidates to weigh in on the issue in our questionnaire last year, which was sourced in part from the local community.

Scott, who became mayor in December, intends for the reform to center around equity for local and small businesses in Baltimore.

“Baltimore City has the responsibility to purchase goods and services in an efficient, equitable way that benefits our businesses and local community,” said Mayor Scott. “We must ensure that the rules are easier to navigate and that policies already on the books, like the small and local business preference, are followed.”

The city’s current system prioritizes hiring the lowest bidder. Scott believes cost effectiveness is important, but not the only factor. There have also been many times in the current system where the lowest bid initially becomes the highest after the contract has been signed and changes to the order have been made.

Once the contractor to assess the system is found, it will report to an executive steering committee composed of the city administrator, director of finance, and director of information technology.

“One thing is clear: Our procurement process is outdated and in need of a complete overhaul,” said Scott. “This is not something we can piecemeal. It has to be done in entirety. We will not be 21st century city until we enact 21st century policies across city government.”

Watch the full news conference below:

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Donte Kirby is a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation.
Companies: City of Baltimore
People: Brandon Scott
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