11-A, 11-B, 11-C
Problem Identification:
The current procedures for consultant procurement, contract and change order approval and invoice approval are tedious, time-consuming, and inefficient.

Recommended Action:
These procedural problems can be addressed by:

– Developing a more streamlined process of procuring consulting services. Investigate procurement policies utilized by the State of Maryland and other local jurisdictions and adopt those which produce the greatest procurement efficiency.

– Developing new, personal computer-based systems to process Expenditure Authorization Requests which allow easy access to information, easy data correction and proper linking of calculation fields. Allow computer based approvals to be made in lieu of the current manual approvals.

– Developing a new policy for handling direct cost billings which avoids the tedious and time-consuming labor efforts currently required to process invoices. Solutions include:

1. Use lump sum negotiated set fees for direct costs based on detailed cost estimates with no backup required. Consultant to bill a percentage of direct costs on monthly invoices.

2. Allow consultants to keep receipts in their office records for possible audit by City and pay direct costs invoiced based on honor system.

Organizational, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
All DPW Bureaus

Estimated Annual Impact:
$360,000 of staff time based on the reduction of approximately 11,800 unnecessary work orders based on current work experience (six full time equivalents with average salary and benefits costs of $60,000). These work hours could be reapplied to other areas.

Estimated Implementation Costs:

Barriers to Implementation:
Agencies in the procurement process must agree to recommended changes. Scope of the process needs to be developed with input from DPW contract administrators and managers. Program design and training required. Department of Audits must concur with the proposed change.

Projected Implementation:
90 days

Next Steps:
Investigate if any City Charter amendment is necessary.
Investigate State and local jurisdiction procurement processes. Demonstrate to the Department of Audits the average direct cost percentage on a variety of projects and the work hour effort required to comply with the current policies. Develop a standard procedure and submit it to the Department of Audits and Law for approval. Upon approval of the Departments of Audit and Law, the policy must be submitted by Department of Audits to Board of Estimates for approval.

The City’s architectural and engineering consultant selection process is cumbersome, with many steps in the procurement process required. The average expectation of procurement time from the date of advertisement to the date of the award of contract is 210 calendar days.

Consultants have stated that other jurisdictions have a more streamlined process for procurement of architectural and engineering services.

Estimated number of consultant contracts approved per year: 100; estimated number of employee hours saved per contract: 30.

The current Expenditure Authorization Request (EAR) approval process involves the utilization of an antiquated mainframe computer program. The program can be accessed through local personal computers, but is not flexible. For instance, the addition of information often requires a complete retyping of the body of the EAR. Also, numerical adjustments do not automatically trigger the recalculation of numerical information. In addition, a six-carbon document printed by the computer is still required to be manually hand-carried to various offices for approval. (Note: The fourth, fifth and sixth copies of the seven-page-thick EAR document are normally not readable).

Number of DPW Bureaus : 4
Number of employee-hours per day saved per Bureau: 4
Number of workdays per year: 250

The vast majority of the cost of consultant invoices involves direct labor charges, which can be justified by the simple submission of a certified payroll signed by a company principal. However, the Department of Audits requires consultants to submit invoices for all direct expenses such as photocopying, long-distance telephone calls, parking fees, etc.

Many hours are spent by Department of Public Works personnel reviewing direct cost expense items and receipts on invoices that comprise an average of only five percent (5%) of the invoice amount but require approximately eighty percent (80%) of the review and processing time. Developing a simpler requirement for the justification of the direct costs will streamline the invoice processing procedure.


– Personnel can spend more time on other administrative work that is backlogged.
– Consultant will not have to tediously track and copy (4 copies required) invoices for direct costs.
– Invoices will be approved in a timelier manner.

Number of invoices/year : 1,200
Number of hours saved/invoice : 4