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Assemblymember Buchanan pushes to grant contract negotiation ability to Technology Agency

In an attempt to improve state IT projects, California Assemblymember Joan Buchanan, D- Alamo, has moved to allow the California Technology Agency negotiating authority for IT contracts under California Public Contract Code Section 6611, Buchanan said today.

The Assemblymember raised the issue at hearing on May 31 by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee Number 4 on State Administration. While the Department of General Services currently has negotiating authority for specific cases during contract procurement under Section 6611, Buchanan said extending that authority to the California Technology Agency could increase the state IT project success rate.

"The California Technology Agency also has some responsibility for IT procurement, and I think its very appropriate that they be allowed to use the 6611 flexibility where they thin its appropriate as well," she said.

When IT projects are defined during the first year and procurement is not completed until several years later, the technology available for the project may have changed, according to Buchanan. Negotiation allows project change to "take advantage of the most current software and hardware and technology available," she said.

"If you think about Moore’s law, where information doubles every 18 months, technology itself in terms of our ability to store information and come up with solutions changes just as dramatically," Buchanan said today. "What 6611 allows you to do is instead of being tied to a rigid solution that you have say at the time you’re defining your problem and what you’d like to have as your solution, it allows you to make changes."

Hoping to pass the change with the budget, Buchanan said she could have include the matter in another bill for this year or reintroduce the issue during the 2013 legislative session. She added that the Technology Agency and other "interested parties" have been positive about the issue.

"So far, we’re optimistic that we’re going to be able to get this passed," Buchanan said.

During the May 31 meeting, Adam Dondro, representing the Technology Agency, said the agency does not have a formal position on the issue. DGS declined comment today.