JACKSON, MISS– When it comes to the state making contracts for different services, tax payers want to know their money is being spent fairly. That’s why Governor Bryant issued two executive orders that change up the contracting process.
The first order, executive order 1361, makes it mandatory for the Mississippi Department of Corrections to become a Certified Purchasing Office through the state’s Department of Finance and Administration. In order for that to happen, half of the people responsible for landing contracts for various services have to earn national and state certifications.
“This training will benefit MDOC employees by equipping them with additional skills and will protect taxpayers by ensuring that the people who oversee public contracts are certified to high standards,” says Governor Phil Bryant.
These changes come after the former Mississippi Department of Corrections commissioner Chris Epps was found to be involved in a kickback scheme with Rankin County businessman Cecil McRory over a phone system in the jail that involved cars, vacation condos, and millions of dollars.
The second order, executive order 1362, states that agencies that are posting contracts online also have to post a description of why that contract was given to that particular contractor or business, or why the contract was changed or continued.
“This order brings additional transparency to the contracting process and provides hardworking taxpayers with additional information about how their dollars are spent,” says Governor Bryant.
In addition to the descriptions of the contracts, agencies will now have to provide information about the fraud and abuse hotline ran by the Office of the State Auditor to their employees.
These changes were made per recommendation of the Task Force on Contracting and Procurement.