State Contracts and Grants Reform
Effective October 1st, the major reforms adopted two years ago for state procurements will finally go into effect. Professional procurement positions are being updated and some upgraded, higher level procurement staff will come under the Department of General Services, even if ‘embedded’ in line state agencies. A new Chief Procurement Officer will take over many of the review functions previously done by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for human services procurements. Under the law the Council on State Agency Procurement of Health, Education and Social Services will remain, with four nonprofit representatives, and will now be chaired by that new Chief Procurement Officer.
This is a critical time, and an opportunity for nonprofits to re-energize our efforts to have cumbersome, unnecessary or simply wasteful practices targeted for change
Our advocacy has already achieved some important improvements:
- COMAR now provides that all invoices and related documentation on state procurement contracts must be accepted (in lieu of any paper requirements) if submitted electronically via email.
- Indirect costs must now be allowed on state-funded grants and contracts.
- Submitting invoices now starts the “clock” on timely payment at the point of submission. If the agency does not send any feedback within 10 business days, the invoice is deemed valid and must be paid within 45 days.
However, there has been very little progress in standardizing or streamlining state grant procedures, as “grants” are generally not subject to COMAR procurement rules. To make sure these issues get the attention we need your help. We know the problems are out there but very few are brought directly to our attention. We need your examples: unreasonable contract or grant provisions or reporting requirements; inadequate, unclear or late RFP’s or Grant Application Announcements; and late renewal requests, late payments, etc. Please email Henry Bogdan, Maryland Nonprofits’ Public Policy Director, with your stories.