Problem Identification:
The overwhelming volume of City contracting activity and inconsistent contracting processes and procedures lead to untimely delays in the execution of agreements and inadequate monitoring of contract terms, conditions, and performance.

Recommended Action:
Reengineer the City’s contracting processes to accelerate the execution of agreements and increase departmental and service provider accountability.

Cost Savings, Organizational, Revenue Enhancement, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:

Estimated Annual Impact:
While the immediate financial impact cannot be estimated, reengineering the City’s contracting processes could improve the City’s ability to monitor and manage contract values and differentiate between allowable and unallowable costs.

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Cannot be Estimated

Barriers to Implementation:
There is no single City department that ‘owns’ the contracting process. Additionally, there is no centralized database of all City contracts.

Projected Implementation:
1 – 2 years

Next Steps:
Appoint an interdepartmental task force to study the City’s contracting practices. Task the group with mapping the City’s processes and procedures and identifying steps that contribute to contracting delays. Finally, the task force should examine possible automation solutions.

Every year the City of Baltimore executes thousands of contracts totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. In the five studied departments alone, over $336.5 million was budgeted in FY2000 for contractual services. This represents nearly 43 percent of the five studied departments’ total operating budgets. Some of the services for which the City contracts include architectural design and engineering, computer system design and development, legal and investment services, and select health and human services.

Given the high level of contract-related expenditures annually incurred, the City’s contracting policies and procedures could benefit greatly from a thorough evaluation. Ultimately, the City should develop comprehensive contracting standards and the information technology infrastructure to improve performance monitoring and the enforcement of appropriate terms and conditions.