Saturday, April 15, 2017

Bill Crawford: Leg Solons do something right

As the dismal saga of bribery and extortion swirling around former Commissioner Chris Epps and Mississippi Department of Corrections contracts continues to make headlines, epic reforms to the public contracting process slipped through the Legislature with scant media attention. 
Longtime champion of contract reform Representative Jerry Turner passed legislation that completely revamps the public contract review board and tightens up its procedures. Governor Phil Bryant, another champion of contract reform, signed his bill into law on March 29th.
A similar bill authored by Senator John Polk died but a companion bill passed that further tightened definitions related to public purchasing. His bill was signed into law by Gov. Bryant on March 20th.
These changes build and improve on earlier reforms Rep. Turner pushed through during the 2015 legislative session with help from Gov. Bryant's special Task Force on Contracting and Procurement in the Mississippi Department of Corrections co-chaired by Judge Robert Gibbs and Andy Taggart.
Taggart described these latest changes as "significant."
Back in January, Turner and Polk, chairmen, respectively, of the House and Senate Accountability, Efficiency and Transparency Committees, issued a joint press release on their proposed changes.
 "For too long Mississippi has had a less than adequate contract and personal services contract approval system," said Polk. "A good attempt was made in 2015 to improve the system by enacting HB825.  But we have found that some state agencies have found ways around the intended controls, and have interfered with the full intent of the law."
"Today I am pleased to announce the introduction of new legislation which will greatly enhance standards for procurements by the solicitation of 'Requests For Proposals,'" said Turner.  "Also, the Department of Finance and Administration 'Public Procurement Review Board' (PPRB) will be reconstituted to include the powers and duties of the PSCRB.”
That "also" was a pretty big deal. The Public Procurement Review Board is under the Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) while the Public Service Contract Review Board (PSCRB) is under the State Personnel Board. The chair of the PSCRB by statute is the State Personnel Board Executive Director. The chair of the revamped PPRB will be elected by its appointed members and the Executive Director of DFA relegated to an ex officio and non-voting member of the panel.
Turner's bill gives the reconstituted Public Procurement Review Board broad oversight and policy control over the public contracting process. Other changes establish detailed guidelines regarding RFP solicitations and evaluations, require the PPRB to pre-approve RFP evaluation weightings for each contract, require price to be at least 35% of the evaluation weightings, spell out requirements for sole source contracts, and clarify limited activities over which the board will not have oversight. 
Polk's bill creates new, specific definitions for public funds, commodities, equipment, furniture, emergencies, and construction along with guidelines for Certified Purchasing Offices, Agents, and Procurement Managers.
The bills were highlighted by columnists Geoff Pender and Wyatt Emmerich early in the process, but they seemed to go invisible after that.
They won't go unnoticed by state agencies when they take full effect on January 1, 2018.
 Crawford is a syndicated columnist from Meridian (


Anonymous said...

the only difference in political corruption in a developing nation and in mississippi is that in a developing nation it is right out in the open. in a way, i kind of find that refreshing. in mississippi they move heaven and earth in an attempt to cover it up.

Anonymous said...

12:53 - That was cute. Now, can you cite an example or two? OK, just one?

Anonymous said...

Which agencies have circumvented?

Anonymous said...

to 2; think I'm cute ? maybe, but the truth hurts, don't it? you want example s? lets start with epps and MDOC, and his habit of depositing his dirty money is sums just less than $10,000, in order to circumvent the banks from reporting it. shall i go on? need more examples? free up the next 2 weeks. we gonna be here a while.

Cute Indeed.. said...

Epps had already been covered in the article, dingleberry. So, all you can come up with to support your post is the bribery scandal already covered? Yes.....cute.

Here's your claim: "In Mississippi they move heaven and earth in an attempt to cover it up."

Please support your claim. Or don't.

Anonymous said...

to 1:07pm, support my claim? try reading the newspaper or watching the 6 oclock news.

Anonymous said...

One example of "moving heaven and earth in an attempt to cover it up" is all we want, 3:59. Don't refer me to the six o'clock news to support a baseless claim you made. Get off the pot!

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS