Procurement – Score: 65.4 Grade: D Ranking: 35

Alabama was scored 65.4 in the Procurement category, ranking it 35th in the country in the State Integrity Investigation.

Alabama got high marks for having a competitive bid law, which requires most contracts involving $15,000 or more be awarded through a competitive bid process. This includes contracts for labor, services, work, or purchase or lease of materials, equipment supplies or other personal property. But there are exceptions, including professional services contracts and contracts issued in cases of emergency involving public health, safety or convenience. The public can get information about contracts awarded in the past 60 days on the Purchasing Division website.

Scores were split on the issue of conflicts of interest. Alabama law bans any purchasing agent, their assistant or employees from having an interest in any purchase or the company from which the purchase is made. But the law does not set out a mechanism for an employee to recuse himself or herself from a case. However, Alabama Purchasing Director Michael Jones said he is charged with making all final purchasing decisions, and he has not encountered a potential conflict of interest in the years he has been in that position.

Alabama also lost points because state statute does not include a provision barring companies that are guilty of major procurement violations from participating in future bids. However, under Alabama’s Administrative Code, Alabama’s purchasing director is authorized, but not required, to remove any company from the vendor list for nonperformance on a contract or other factors.