Maryland legislators look to improve contract reporting website

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Maryland’s state legislature is considering a bill that would expand a state website that provides information on all state-awarded contracts.

The Maryland Funding Accountability and Transparency website, which is run by the Maryland Department of Budget and Management, lists all the payments state agencies have made to contractors exceeding $25,000 over the last five years.

While the site includes the payment information, which agency paid and the zip code where the vendor is based, state legislators would like to add more information to the site such as the name of the owner of each business, the budget code for the payment and the method of procurement.

The website would also include start and end date of each contract, including any modifications, the number and title of full-time employees who worked under the contract, the average compensation for each type of employee, and audit reports related to the contract.

Annual maintenance, costing $200,000, would also be required.

“It’s interesting that the state puts out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts every year,” state Sen. Richard Madaleno said during a legislative hearing on the site last week, according to the Maryland Reporter. “It’s useful for us, [and] for the public, to know who that is going to, who is benefiting from those numbers.”

Madaleno is one of 11 other legislators – one Republican and 10 Democrats – who are championing the bill.

The bill is currently being considered by the Maryland Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, which would need to appropriate $1.4 million to reconstruct the site to handle the upgrades the legislators want.

The Maryland Department of Information Technology opposes the bill, in part, because some information the bill requests the agencies do not have access to, said Becky Burner, who represented DoIT at the hearing.

Burner went on to say the other agencies’ accounting systems do not marry well with each other without reconfiguring the systems to allow them to interface, which would cost more than a $1 million.

The database initially went online to the tune of $200,000 in January 2009 following the confirmation of the Maryland Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2008.

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Maryland, States
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