Executive Councilor Joe Kenney Explores Challenges with State Contracting and Nonprofits

State contracting, short time limits to fulfill contracts and overly burdensome requirements that result in nonprofits delivering mammoth reams of documents to the state was a topic of conversation between newly elected Executive Councilor Joseph Kenney and nonprofit leaders at this month’s Nonprofit Capital Exchange.

Kenney is the newest member of the Executive Council, having been elected in March to serve in the seat previously held by Executive Councilor Ray Burton who passed away recently. Kenney explained that the Executive Council is tasked with overseeing the spending of the state’s budget that is passed by the legislature. They are responsible for looking at the contracts before them and ensuring that the need for the spending is well thought out, if it creates jobs, and if it will achieve the goals set forth.

During the roundtable discussion, Councilor Kenny stressed his openness to learning more about ways the contracting process could be improved and about the role nonprofits play in community building and offered to host a discussion on contracts to talk about how to address the issues around state contracts.

Nonprofit leaders shared with Councilor Kenney their concern about a recent proposal by the state to remove from the contracts the ability for nonprofit organizations to ask for any budget line changes. “Like any contractor, you could unexpectedly save money in one line item and it makes sense to move those funds into another line item. This locks us into having no flexibility- which isn’t prudent. And just when you are making headway, you have to go through the whole process again,” stated one attendee.

Kenney shared that while he doesn’t think the proposal is the best approach because flexibility is needed, he believed that part of the motivation might be to ensure there is an open bidding process. He added that the Executive Council is mindful of the public’s perception of processes and the importance of transparency in bidding for contracts within the state.

The Nonprofit Capitol Exchange is a recurring monthly leadership series featuring leaders in public policy. It is organized by the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits and hosted by Sulloway & Hollis. Check our events page for upcoming dates and featured speakers.

Post date: April 15, 2014
Topics: NH News

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