P.O. Box 12068, State Capitol
Austin, Texas 78711
Tel. (512) 463-0112
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 26, 2015
AUSTIN – Senator Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound, today filed SB 353 to strengthen contracting oversight across state government.
"We need to make sure that contracts are awarded fairly and monitored carefully," Senator Nelson said. "There is no room for favoritism when taxpayer dollars at stake. We also have a duty to insist that contractors are performing as required on behalf of the people who rely on state services."
- Requires that all agency employees involved in procurement or contract management disclose any possible conflicts of interest;
- Prohibits contracts with business entities with which high-level agency leadership or staff have a financial interest;
- Requires that the agency's board chair sign any contract valued at more than $1 million -- or delegates signature authority to the agency head;
- For procurements of more than $5 million, requires the agency's central contracting office or procurement director to sign off on the procurement method and to indicate, in writing, to the Board and agency head any potential issue that could arise in the contract solicitation;
- Requires public disclosure of all no-bid contracts and a justification for using such a procurement method;
- Requires the agency to report on the status of contracts of more than $1 million;
- Requires the agency to create a process to escalate attention on large and problematic contracts to the board;
- Requires the agency develop an ongoing training program on contracting, with a focus on contracting ethics, for employees actively involved in procurements or managing contracts; and
- Requires the agency to complete, maintain, and update a contract management handbook, to develop policies for risk-based monitoring of contracts, and to develop a central contract management database.
Senator Nelson also intends to amend SB 200, the soon-to-be-filed Sunset legislation for the Health and Human Services Commission, to strengthen contract oversight across the health and human services enterprise. She will also review the results of the ongoing audits and investigations to determine whether additional reforms are needed.