Today, the New Mexico Association of Commerce and Industry (ACI), New Mexico’s statewide business advocate, submitted requests under the New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) for records pertaining to contract purchases by Albuquerque Public Schools, Rio Rancho Public Schools, and the cities of Las Cruces, Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, and Santa Fe. The requested records will show to what degree contracts are “piggybacked” on one another, rather than being put out for bids from competing businesses. This practice is allowed under current statutes, further emphasizing the need for procurement reforms.
“As a member-driven organization, ACI’s priorities and marching orders come straight from New Mexico businesses,” said ACI’s President and CEO Dr. Beverlee McClure. “ACI’s involvement in procurement issues started when member businesses raised concerns over state contracts going out-of-state. As we looked into this issue, other businesses have raised concerns over the procurement process at all levels. ACI will continue to bring together business leaders and policymakers to pinpoint weaknesses and propose solutions so that procurement practices in New Mexico promote a healthy, thriving business environment.”
New Mexico businesses have communicated to ACI that piggybacking is a common and legally-accepted occurrence in state, local, and other contracts. Once a contract is awarded to a particular businesses, other contracts—even from other government entities in the state—can stack one contract on top of another approved contract, circumventing the proposal process. As a result, current policy may allow competitors to be unfairly prevented from competing for numerous contracts. ACI’s IPRA request is intended to determine to what degree this practice occurs, and what impact it is having on business and job growth in the state.
ACI is working closely with New Mexico businesses to identify specific improvements in state and local procurement practices that will foster a more business-friendly environment in the state. Businesses who are interested in joining this effort may contact ACI at 505-842-0644, or firstname.lastname@example.org.