Senate committee passes bill requiring legislative oversight on some contracts

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Considered a political sacred cow, state consulting contracts are under attack at the Capitol. A bill to reduce the amount of personal, professional, and consulting contracts given out by the state has cleared the Senate Finance Committee. The law would also require any contract over $40,000 dollars to gain approval of the Joint Budget Committee.

State Treasurer John Kennedy, who was pushing the bill, is not happy about the way the Department of Children and Family Services is spending its cash.

"I think we can save anywhere from a $100 dollars to $500 million dollars depending on how tough we are willing to be. I'll give you an example --this website that the administration spent $140 million dollars on and DCFS to build a new web site," says Kennedy.

But Division of Administration Head Kristy Nichols says Kennedy is not being truthful about the DCFS website. She further says the Office of Contractual Review currently handles the contract oversight.

"This bill and the totality of this bill has been miscommunicated several times," Nichols says.  "The bill is very clear that the contracts are under the purview of the Office of Contractual Review."

But Kennedy adds if Joint Budget had been involved in the website contract, the state would have saved money.

"We would involve more Louisiana companies and we would have told them to sharpen their pencils. If we saved 20 percent, that's 28 million dollars. Ask LSU or Southern if they can use 28 million bucks right now?" asked Kennedy.

The proposed law will expire in 2017 unless the legislature votes to renew it.

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