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TechAmerica continues procurement conversation with white paper focused on 6611

Technology industry organization TechAmerica released a white paper last week that describes a lack of negotiations utilized by the Department of General Services during the procurement process for state projects, goods and services, TechAmerica Vice President Carol Henton said today.

California Public Contract Code 6611, enacted in 2003, allows the Department of General Services to use negotiation for new procurements or to amend existing procurements, said Henton, who added that the Department of General Services has not taken full advantage of 6611. Staying within the lengthy and rigid procurement process does not allow state agencies and departments the flexibility needed to bring the right solutions to the state, especially for technology projects, she said.

"[DGS] have used it selectively," Henton said of the 6611 code. "But TechAmerica believes there is merit and value to the state if it were to make the authority more well known to departments and agencies and use [6611] with much more regularity. It’s a powerful negotiating authority which we believe, at the end of the day, facilitates more competition, robust competition."

Information Technology procurement has remained a popular topic within state government for the past several months, with legislation addressing different areas of procurement passed in the month of July.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law at the end of the month Senate Bill 1006, which extended negotiating ability, or 6611 ability, to the California State Technology Agency for telecommunications contracts.

With this change, Henton said she hopes for improved solutions with large telecommunications projects expected for the state. She cited the report, which suggests that further use of negotiations in procurement processes will result in reduced expenditures that remain within state budget guidelines, improved competition, expedited procurement processes and innovation within technology solutions for state agencies and departments, according to the report.

Other procurement-focused legislation signed by the governor at the end of July includes Assemblymember Joan Buchanan’s, D-Alamo, AB 1498, which pushed for the administration to consider a plan that would move procurement authority on state IT contracts from DGS to the California Technology Agency.

TechAmerica did not take a position Buchanan’s bill, but as "one of numerous stakeholders," the organization hopes to be included in any plans moving forward, Henton said.

"We probably would not have been able to reach consensus around such an important and significant change of government operations," Henton said today. "Now going forward, we very much hope to be consulted as a stakeholder in this important process, so we look forward to provide our input into whatever recommendation state officials are drafting up," she added.