State of Maryland Procurement Policy Review

State of Maryland Procurement Policy Review – December 2013

Over the past six months, a number of Maryland Architects, leaders within our profession, and AIA Maryland have come together to advocate for review, sound analysis, and improvement to State of Maryland procurement policies throughout all State units and institutions.  No matter what the firm size, or type of services offered, all are affected by these policies.  Procurement requirements and procedures must be reasonable and equitable, but flexible enough to accommodate varying State units and institutions, project types and needs, and economic goals.

On November 22, 2013, a group of colleagues representing 5 leading architectural firms in Maryland (Jim Wheeler, ASG; Dan Bailey, PBA; Fred Marino, DCA; Chris Parts and Tom Spies, HCM) and Joe Miedusiewski, Semmes Bowen, Semmes, AIA Maryland Lobbyist, appeared before the State of Maryland Procurement Advisory Council (PAC).  PAC includes procurement officials from various State agencies, the public, and State Legislature.

An opening statement was made by Dan Bailey, President, AIA Maryland.  This statement encapsulated and summarized the testimony message.

You may read the testimony here.

Jim Wheeler then presented specific examples of recent State RFP’s where procurement policy was not reasonable and equitable, or where the State did not benefit from local Architectural involvement.

Fred Marino then followed with concise recommendations by our committee, summarized as follows:

A)      Institute a uniform, cost-effective and transparent selection process for major capital projects across the State

B)      Establish and communicate a clearly defined and enforceable goal to hire Maryland architectural firms or allow for their meaningful participation in State-funded projects (when expertise and qualifications are equal)

C)      Define requirements for A/E selection committees to include a licensed architect or professional engineer to assess the quality of each proposer’s expertise and technical approach, as well as to provide more useful information at project pre-bids and debriefs.

Jerry Klasmeier, Assistant State Comptroller, who participates on this Council, suggested that they form a committee to study the issue further. The PAC agreed and concluded that Mr. Klasmeier would facilitate the formation of a PAC committee to include UMS, MDOT and DGS to discuss procurement policies, and evaluate our concerns and recommendations.

A handout and digital copy was provided to the Council of supporting information.  We believe this was a positive first step in what we know will be a long and tedious process toward a meaningful change with regard to A/E procurement within the State of Maryland.