North Dakota Officials Need to Get Serious About Procurement Law

MINOT, N.D. — Having a solid procurement process is important. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a private sector business or the government, you have to establish a process that ensures that transactions are in the best interest of the organization, and not the best interest of some well-connected lobbyist of public official’s brother-in-law.

We don’t even need the potential for corruption or nepotism to justify procurement policies. The ongoing controversy at the State Investment Board, where the hire of money management consultants is exempt from public procurement policies, has revealed that one company, Callan, has had the state’s investment consulting business since the Reagan administration.

During that time the state’s pension investments have ranked “among the 10 lowest states” according to the Institute for Pension Fund Integrity, and it’s recently been revealed that Callan has been recommending a lot of companies that have also paid the company’s foundation for training seminars.

Do you suppose a procurement process might have helped state officials identify these problems?

Problem is, even where procurement laws exist, they’re often not followed, and there are few consequences for not following them.

Just today state Auditor Josh Gallion’s office released a report about procurements at Dickinson State University and found some serious problems.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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