Overshadowed by her decision to veto the $4.6 billion bonding bill Saturday, Gov. M. Jodi Rell did sign historic clean contracting legislation that same day.
The compromise legislation, which the General Assembly passed on Sept. 21, requires state agencies to hold contractors to a higher standard. More specifically it requires the state to perform a cost-benefit analysis before contracting out state services to private consultants, creates a state contracting standards board with the power to review contracts and procurement procedures, and improves transparency with the creation of a centralized database for all contracted work.
Since taking office in 2004, Rell promised to clean up the well-publicized contracting debacles, which contributed to her predecessor John G. Rowland’s time behind bars, but was unable, for many years, to reach a compromise with Democratic lawmakers. In her first few years in office Rell vetoed three clean contracting bills passed by the General Assembly because they included privatization language she felt would hurt small businesses.
This year both Rell and Democrats put their differences aside.
Rell’s office said Tuesday that it plans to send out a press release on the signing of the bill Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the state employee unions which have supported the reforms were unable to contain their excitement over its passage.
“The new law establishes contracting standards that will help protect state taxpayers from future scandals like the I-84 ‘Little Dig’ contractor fiasco, the ‘Homeland Insecurity’ criminal database failure, and the ‘Data-gate’ personal ID breach,” CSEA/SEIU Local 2001 members said in a press release.
“This law goes a long way to reform the state’s policy of ‘outsourcing without oversight’” Jay Doody, a Transportation Principal Engineer in the State’s Department of Transportation, said in the press release. “With ‘clean contracting,’ engineering, scientific, and technical professionals working for the state…will be empowered to perform critical public safety functions on a wide variety of projects.”