By John Boling
In April, IIBEC sent a letter opposing legislation expanding cooperative purchasing to the members of the Florida Appropriations Committee. IIBEC has long opposed bills that expand cooperative purchasing to include construction design services. Recently, IIBEC submitted testimony opposing a Missouri bill that crossed the threshold and notched a victory when North Dakota exempted all construction services from their cooperative purchasing bill after IIBEC had submitted testimony to the North Dakota Senate State and Local Committee in support of QBS.
The Florida bill, H.B. 1259, started out as a charter schools funding bill and was amended to include a number of legislative priorities from the state’s university regents. One provision granted the Board of Governors the power to develop their own regulations for university boards of trustees relating to contracting for the construction of new facilities or for work on existing facilities. In the letter, IIBEC reminded the legislators that for the past 50 years the Consultant’s Competitive Negotiation Act (CCNA)—Florida’s version of qualifications-based selection (QBS)—has been required for all state and local government agencies in Florida and has proven superior to all other procurement systems when it comes to construction services.
Brian Pallasch, IIBEC’s executive vice president and chief executive officer, closed the letter to the committee by noting, “The siren song of faster-better-cheaper will continue to be sung, however, it should be ignored when it comes to replacing a statute that has proved beneficial to Floridians for the last 50 years. For this reason and those outlined above, please strike allowing the Board to develop their own policies and procured for the procurement of construction services in HB 1259.”
The committee deliberated and amended the bill multiple times, and when the dust settled, the language IIBEC opposed was rejected and the bill once again focused only on charter school funding—another in a string of recent wins for IIBEC’s advocacy efforts.