The Business Council supports passage of this legislation, which would make a number of amendments to the state’s contract procurement procedures.
Specifically, the bill would include the following positive reforms:
- Require agencies to enroll with the Office of State Comptroller (OSC) to access the vendor responsibility system, and require agencies to provide vendors with information on how to access and utilize the system.
- Allow agencies to undertake competitive negotiations in cases where two or more offerers are deemed susceptible for being selected, when the agency has determined that using a competitive negotiation will maximize the agency’s ability to obtain best value.
- Amend the Lobbying Act's definition of "restricted period" to match State Finance Law amendment adopted in 2016.
Allowing for simultaneous negotiations with two or more responsive offerers is a negotiating tactic already employed in federal procurement and in other states. This method is particularly useful in some of the more complex procurements. Current law allows for an agency to negotiate with the successful bidder after an award, but even then, material terms cannot be negotiated. In this respect, New York is considered to be risk-adverse and inflexible in comparison to other states.1 This legislation will help the state realize innovative solutions in procurement and allow vendors an opportunity to showcase their company’s capabilities during the negotiating process.
The Business Council also supports requiring agencies to enroll with the OSC to access the vendor responsibility (VendRep) system, which would save time and money for businesses by sparing them paperwork, particularly in those cases of agencies that utilize their own vendor responsibility forms. However, as the VendRep process can also be complicated and time-consuming, The Business Council would also support time frames worked into current statute regarding timeliness of responsibility determinations and encourage OSC to look into current vendor issues with the system.
The provisions in this legislation will generally allow for greater flexibility in state procurement and increased opportunities for vendors. For these reasons, The Business Council supports this legislation.