Illinois Chamber Hosts State Procurement Forum with State Chief Procurement Officers
As part of its ongoing effort to overcome some of the navigational challenges and unintended consequences of SB 51, the Illinois Chamber hosted a well-attended forum March 15 at UIS’ Brookens Auditorium with the state’s top procurement officials. The overarching goal of the forum was to allow vendors and prospective vendors to engage in an open dialogue with the state’s four Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) who, as a result of the procurement reform law, have direct oversight of state procurement matters, and to promote greater communication and education around the role and responsibility of the CPOs, as well as identify barriers and challenges that need to be addressed moving forward.
The Illinois Chamber has been actively engaged on state procurement matters for the last several years, seeking legislative clean-up changes to SB 51 that address communication barriers, due process, onerous disclosures, and administrative mandates that have not only created confusion amongst the vendor community, they have also resulted in a quantifiable impact to the state’s taxpayers, as hundreds of lowest bidders have been disqualified for the failure to meet stringent new standards.
Due to the complexity of the new law and the navigational challenges of the post-51 procurement landscape, the Chamber worked with the CPO office to provide an additional outlet in which vendors and prospective vendors could highlight real-world concerns of the law. The forum generated a great deal of interest on the behalf of the vendor community, and was also well received by the CPOs, as it helped highlight real issues and challenges that they hope to address- both in the legislative and non-legislative arenas.
Given the high interest and positive feedback from the forum, the Chamber will continue to coordinate with the CPOs to put together similar forums in other regions of the state over the coming year. In the meantime, the Illinois Chamber is working with the CPOs and other stakeholders to secure legislative changes this session.