Wednesday, March 22, 2006
By MARSHA SHULER
Capitol news bureau
The state Civil Service Commission gets a lot of contracts every month for review and approval.
The idea is to make sure the government work cannot be done by a government employee or employees, that there’s a real need for contract work.
“The explanation has always been good, rational,” Civil Service chief lawyer Robert Boland said recently.
In 2001, the commission pushed legislation to establish an entity to look at contracts from the cost-benefit and performance points of view.
It didn’t get very far, stalling in its first legislative hearing.
Boland said the concerns still exist as the number and size of outside contracts continue to soar.
During the last fiscal year, ending June 30, 2005, the state and its entities let $3.6 billion in contracts.
Civil Service Commissioner G. Lee Griffin saw it from another perspective.
“This to me this is a huge loophole in the way we do business in this state,” Griffin said.
“The risk here is a going-around of the Civil Service system. The risk is political patronage and the risk is waste of taxpayer money,” Griffin continued.
Griffin said the commission needs to partner with the state’s contract review agency and other groups as well as some members of the Legislature who can get “excited about saving the state a lot of money and making sure there is not political patronage there.”
Griffin said he suspects “significant problems.”
The Office of Contractural Review already exists to oversee personal, professional and consulting contracts, Boland said.
The office is also located in the governor’s Division of Administration, “where the impetus for change has got to come from.”