The Business Council supports most of the components of S.4915 (Golden)/A.7148 (Camara) that would expand the State Procurement Council's membership and expand their role as an advisory council for state procurement.
This bill would include add two non-voting members to the council, the executive officer of a statewide business association and the executive officer of a statewide association representing local governments. Having both a representative of the vendor community and of local governments is imperative as the procurement landscape continues to evolve. Both of these groups are heavily affected by changes in procurement and should be allowed to participate, if not vote, in the conversation. We do however suggest changing the language to allow a designee of the executive officer of each of these organizations in case the executive is unable to attend the quarterly meetings.
This legislation would also expand the role of the procurement council in two ways. First they would be given the annual reports the OGS commissioner is required to give to the governor, legislature and director of budget and would also be given quarterly reports on any initiatives that significantly affect procurement, such as the strategic sourcing initiative. The strategic sourcing initiative is a huge undertaking by this administration which should yield tremendous cost savings to the state and local governments, but because of the size of this undertaking regular updates to all affected parties (ie state agencies, local governments and the vendor community) should be given regularly.
The procurement council would also be responsible for recommending legislative changes to existing or proposed rules, regulations or procedures to the OGS commissioner that would increase in-state business participation in state contracting. We believe that any legislative change that gives preference to an in state business would actually hurt New York businesses because it would limit their ability to do business in other states that have a retaliatory reciprocal preference law as New York has. A majority of other states have preference laws, including New York. The law's purpose is to ensure fairness in interstate procurement; a business that is given preference in their resident state would have their bids in other states devalued by same amount of preference they are given in their home state. We believe that any attempt to give a New York State business preference in contract opportunities can be achieved through the bid and proposal solicitation process and not through any legislative statute.
For these reasons, The Business Council supports S.4915 (Golden)/A.7148 (Camara) but recommends making these slight but significant changes.