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Procurement amendment shelved until September

Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Chi-Town Daily News
by Alex Parker

An amendment to the county’s procurement code that would require Cook County commissioners to sign off on large vendor contracts and would ensure vendors adhered to the county procurement code, was deferred until September, an aide to Commissioner Roberto Maldonado, who proposed it, said today.

The Cook County Health and Hospitals System board opposes the measure, saying it is a response to the health system’s decision to use a group purchasing organization to supply county health facilities.

It would require vendors doing business with the system to adhere to county procurement regulations. The health system has its own procurement code.

The ordinance comes as the health system is ironing out details of a controversial purchasing plan opposed by a number of local businesses that supply the health system. The amendment is set to be introduced to the county board’s finance committee Tuesday.

It also requires the county board to be notified of purchases larger than $100,000, with the county president, procurement officer and comptroller signing off on a contract.

The amendment, introduced by Maldonado, will be reworded to include specific references to group purchasing organizations, per direction from the state’s attorney, Oskandy says.

Business owners, including minority and women business owners, oppose the use of a group purchasing organization, a conglomerate of pre-approved vendors. Health system leaders anticipate annual savings of up to $60 million over the next several years, including $20 million for the duration of 2009.

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