After two years in office, Gov. Malloy has finally appointed his eight allocated members to the State Contracting Standards Board. Now that a majority of the Board’s members have been appointed the board has the ability to meet and begin reviewing State Contracts. The State Contracting Standards Board is tasked with reviewing cost-benefit analyses, performed by state agencies on all state contracts between consultants or contractors. The 14 member SCS Board, long pushed for by CSEA, was signed into law by Gov. Rell in 2009. Initially, the Board, under the Rell Administration, required the Department of Transportation to conduct a cost benefit analysis of bridge safety work. The Board found based upon DOT’s own analysis that it was more cost effective to perform the work in-house.
Over the past few years the State’s use of contractors and consultants has ballooned as management has been slow to hire additional state employees to complete work that inevitably needs to be done. There is a right way and a wrong way to utilize contractors and consultants. The right way is for projects where the state lacks expertise or for short-term projects where it does not make sense to hire a full-time employee. The wrong way to hire contractors and consultants for long-term projects where the work can easily be done in-house for less money, which in many cases is what has been happening, costing the state millions of dollars.
In many instances contractors and consultants end up being far more expensive then it would be to simply hire additional state employees. When hiring contractors and consultants for long periods of time, the state not only ends up indirectly paying for the contractor’s wages and benefits, but also any fees that may be charged. At a time when the state is facing a $300 million budget shortfall this year and an expected $1 billion deficit for 2013—2014, the state cannot afford to continue to do business as usual. CSEA applauds the Governor’s appointments to the State Contracting Standards Board and encourages the board to meet as soon as possible.