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updated: 8/30/2013 6:51 PM

State logs $135 million in no-bid contracts

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- State officials authorized more than $135 million in no-bid contracts during the most recent fiscal year -- about 33 percent more than the year before, records show.

The sum is 300 percent higher than what was recorded during the last year of Gov. Rod Blagojevich's administration, according to a report by The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.

The state typically puts contracts out for a bid to ensure taxpayers get the best deal, but no-bid contracts are used in some emergencies.

Ed Bedore, a member of Illinois' Procurement Policy Board, said he's frustrated because he believes the state is increasingly using no-bid contracts due to human error that forces agencies to scramble to buy goods and services.

He called that "general incompetence."

"Do the agencies not care? Are they complacent? There is something wrong here," he said during a recent meeting. "Every year, it is increasing."

For example: State corrections officials spent $15,000 in a no-bid contract for hot dog seasoning because the previous contract expired and a new one wasn't in place.

Abdon Pallasch, the state's assistant budget director, said they're issued for a variety of purposes, including trying to implement new legislation, litigation delays, a lack of competing bidders or extended negotiations.

"Emergency procurements should be used, by definition, only in emergencies, when required to meet the state's obligations under the law to provide certain goods and services," he said in a statement.

State officials said they're doing more to make sure the no-bid contracts are issued because of lapses in planning.

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