The procurement process is absolutely critical to how Maryland’s government works for its residents. It is how the State – and all of its agencies – spends billions of taxpayer dollars every single year to acquire goods and services from private sector businesses. In 2017, Brooke voted to overhaul Maryland’s procurement process, saving Maryland taxpayers $100 million annually. But there is more work to be done. As Comptroller, Brooke will fight wasteful spending and drastically reduce single-bid contracts. As a member of the Board of Public Works, she will make the procurement process more transparent, more streamlined, and more accessible. She will ensure that our homegrown, local small businesses get the fairest shot at landing state contracts, keeping economic activity right here in Maryland.
State subcontractors – especially small and minority-owned businesses – deserve to know when their prime contractors get paid by the State. Companies seeking to do business with the State deserve to see how much the State plans to spend, and has already spent, on specific goods and services – eliminating unfair advantages to incumbents and increasing competition. Taxpayers deserve to know where exactly their hard-earned dollars go. State spending waste, fraud and abuse are easily understood concepts, but less recognizable in practice. Providing clear, timely, attainable data on state spending only enables greater competition, fairer access to opportunity, and improved capabilities to identify and fix wrongdoing sooner rather than later. Brooke will ensure that the State pays its bills on time. Delays in payments have an outsized impact on small businesses waiting on payment for completed work under state contracts.
Each year, tens-of-millions of taxpayer dollars are spent on smaller purchases by Maryland employees with purchasing powers on State-issued credit cards for procurement. Brooke will ensure there is transparency in the number of purchases, how much is being spent at this level, and where it is being spent. She will create programs to educate small businesses and potential vendors on how they can market to these purchasers to encourage purchases in our local economies.
Maryland’s bidding processes should secure the best value for our taxpayers’ dollars, encourage local investment, and be accessible to all companies large and small. Brooke will examine and improve our Invitation for Bid (IFB) and Request for Proposal (RFP) processes and ensure maximum transparency. With technology and our economy ever changing, she will make sure that our technical services contracting processes make best use of the state’s investments.
As Comptroller, Brooke will make sure that all Maryland businesses have a fair shot at state contracts. She will reform processes and structure to encourage contracting with local vendors, small businesses, and minority and women-owned businesses. Brooke will modernize contracting terms and conditions, improve procurement forecasting to give companies more time to prepare bids, improve quick pay solutions, and encourage unbundling of large projects to provide more opportunities for small and mid-size businesses to secure state contracts.
As Comptroller, Brooke will advocate for establishing a revolving “Mobilization Fund” to provide access to capital for vendors who have secured contracts and are preparing for engagements with the State. This will allow smaller businesses to engage in contracting and prevent them from having to over-leverage to initiate contract engagements.
Brooke will begin an innovative cooperative bidding program to offer procurement engagements with Maryland counties, Baltimore City, and smaller jurisdictions and increase purchasing power by working together. The Comptroller’s Office will invite these jurisdictions to merge procurement bids when there are shared goods and services common across jurisdictions, like health insurance plans and vehicle fleets. These partnerships will increase the size of the contract, drive down per unit costs by achieving larger economies of scale, and ultimately yield savings across jurisdictions.