Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sole Source Contract Bill Sent to Okla. Governor

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Sole Source Contract Bill Sent to Okla. Governor

Article excerpt

A bill that would clamp down on the use of sole source contracts for publicly funded construction projects quietly sailed through houses of the Oklahoma Legislature and has been sent to Republican Gov. Mary Fallin's office.

Senate Bill 630 would add new restrictions to the use of sole source provisions in publicly funded building contracts. The bill, written by state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, and state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, would reduce the reliance on sole source contracts by requiring at least three equivalent products in the specifications to ensure competitive pricing.

Mark Nestlen, spokesman for the Coalition for Competitive Public Construction, said over several years many publicly funded construction projects in Oklahoma have been much more expensive than they should have because of the sole source provision.

Nestlen pointed to contracts for roofing, electrical and HVAC work as examples. In an email to Fallin's office, Nestlen urged the governor to support the bill, saying contracts for municipal projects and public schools that used sole source provisions cost taxpayers thousands of extra dollars.

"Within the last year an Oklahoma City area public school put out a sole source bid where the roofing materials could only come from one company with one sales representative," he wrote.

Nestlen said the bid from the vendor who met the sole source requirements was $3.2 million for the materials. However, a different contractor was able to obtain the same materials called for in the contracts and bid the project for $1.9 million.

"By circumventing the sole source sales representative, the contractor provided the opportunity for the taxpayer to save $1.3 million," he wrote.

Many in the industry, Nestlen said, believe that Oklahoma's current sole sourcing policies are costing taxpayers more than $100 million per year. …

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