For Immediate Release - January 19, 2007

GOVERNOR PATRICK ANNOUNCES PROCUREMENT REFORMS

Plans will streamline and modernize cumbersome system and better enable small business participation and green incentives

BOSTON- Friday, January 19, 2007 - Governor Deval L. Patrick today announced plans to begin modernizing and reforming the Commonwealth's procurement process to simplify how businesses participate and expand the pool of companies who compete to provide Massachusetts with goods and services.

Currently, Massachusetts has more than $4.1 billion in open contracts, doing business with thousands of firms who provide goods and services each year. The bidding process is competitive and open but very cumbersome.

"The success of small businesses is critical to the future of our economy. We want to expand opportunities for them, too," Governor Patrick said. "A more business-friendly procurement process means requiring fewer forms and making it easier and faster for businesses to sign up and compete."

Governor Patrick has directed the Operational Services Division of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to streamline the procurement process by eliminating redundant or unnecessary forms used by businesses to become eligible to participate. The state will also expand the use of on-line registration and bid submissions and simplify the bidder response requirements.

The administration is also formulating a Small Business Incentive program to encourage locally-owned small businesses to participate in the bidding process in order to provide to the Commonwealth a range of goods and services. This sort of small-business certification program would reserve a portion of state procurement funds for small firms in the Commonwealth to encourage their participation. Doing so would give a boost to entrepreneurs and positively impact many businesses owned by minorities and women. Eight other states including Illinois, Georgia and New Jersey already have similar programs in place with preferences ranging from requiring all statewide contracts to include at least one certified small business to sending all small procurements of less than $50,000 to at least one certified small business. Under the Governor's plan, a small business would be defined as an independently owned, Massachusetts-based company, employing less than 25 people and having gross annual revenues less than $10 million.

The administration also is expanding business procurement training for businesses statewide to better explain how to do business with the Commonwealth. The free workshops will be held in every region of the state with the intention of increasing the number of potential state vendors - large and small. The first workshop, "Pathways to Procurement," already is sold-out with 50 firms booked to attend the Feb. 14 session on how to find bidding opportunities and how to use the Commonwealth's Procurement Access and Solicitation Systemor Comm-PASS electronic procurement system.

Governor Patrick also has directed the Operational Services Division to establish a program encouraging firms specializing in producing environmentally preferable goods and services to register with the state for procurement.

"In order to help grow the clean energy cluster in Massachusetts, the Commonwealth will seek ways to be more energy efficient and purchase more environmentally sound goods and services. From new janitorial contracts to clean energy sources, such as wind, solar and biomass, we have a big opportunity here," Governor Patrick said. "We will use the state's robust purchasing power to make a commitment to green contracts."