Lawmakers Take Aim At Ohio’s System of Awarding IT Contracts

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Ohio lawmakers have moved to impose a competitive process on information-technology contracts that state administrative officials now may award without bids.

The Columbus Dispatch reports an Ohio House budget amendment would erase the Department of Administrative Services’ system of no-bid, information-technology contracts. It requires competitive selection of firms and sign-off by a key legislative panel.

The proposal follows an investigation by the newspaper. It found department officials sometimes thwarted policy and analysts’ warnings to award millions of dollars of questionable no-bid IT contracts, often at excessive prices and to firms where former department executives worked. The review looked back to 2011.

The department has held a waiver of competitive selection on such contracts for 45 years. A spokesman says the arrangement allows flexibility that’s saved taxpayers millions of dollars.