The House State Affairs Committee is underway with a hearing with a former procurement officer. They're talking about some MORE fishy contracts inked by Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka.

And no it's not the one @DermotMCole has been digging into.

Speaking now, I believe, is Barry Jackson, Retired State Procurement Officer, who's looking at a contract Tshibaka is the project manager on. He's pointing out that the prior experience requirements are biased.

The contract, he points out, includes some unusual prior experience requirements like: They must be a member of the National Governor's Association.

On the requirement for National Governor's Association, Jackson says "I have never seen a requirement like this before ... It doesn't appear that it requires its donors to have any skillset of any kind. This being here is very questionable. What the heck is going on here?"
Jackson points out that NGA partners include stuff like Walmart, State Farm and Hyundai. Says under the RFP written by Tshibaka these could have all applied for this contract.

Jackson: "All of these firms could have qualified and yet not been able to really provide any assistance to us that's worthwhile. So what's going on here? I don't have the answer, I just have the question."

Jackson is going over the state law regarding procurement, he says that they can't be 'unduly restrictive' and says that's already appearing to be the case. He says, also, requirements cannot be used to slim down the competition to who you want.

Jackson points out that some of the bidders even asked to have the NGA membership--which has no meaningful purpose--could be waived or at least open the window so they could become a member and still apply.

Tshibaka denied both requests.

Jackson notes the RFP written by Tshibaka's office required NGA membership OR completely in-house "professional services, audit, assurance services, taxation, management consulting, advisory, actuarial, corporate finance and legal services."

It's not justified, he says.

He says stuff like "professional services" is completely meaningless without context.

Also, it should be noted that as I understand Commissioner Tshibaka WAS invited to this hearing to explain this contract but declined.

Jackson going down the list of requirements. The contract's about back-office consolidation. Why does it require taxation, actuarial and corporate finance services?

"I'm stunned. Why would the state need any of these services at all?"

Jackson also notes that the inclusion legal services VIOLATES ALASKA LAW. It requires the AG sign off on it and says he didn't.

"Technically and realistically speaking, legal services is listed in this compendium of services, essentially, in violation of Alaska statute."

Jackson has done his homework, including getting one of the drafts with tracked changes: "Basically the commissioner is writing the restrictive specifications."

He said there's other records--2 drafts--he was told existed but has been told since then that they 'disappeared.'

"I don't know about anybody else but it makes me nervous to hear that."

He asks why the 25-year limitation is of any value today? Especially when it's about IT. 25 years ago, it was Netscape v. Explorer, Java 1.0 was introduced, the PlayStation 1 was released.

Now he's going over the "missing" documents. He says they still exist. People were emailing them back and forth, says all it'd take is an "appropriate search."

"We can be pretty sure they're somewhere. ... There hasn't been a lot of effort as far as I can tell."

Jackson sums up Tshibaka's efforts on this contract: "There's been a substantial suppression of competition through this prior experience clause."

Says there were other Alaska bidders who were locked out because they didn't mention the words "legal services" in it.

He says there's an Alaska bidder who would've come in cheaper and would have had preference because they were Alaska-based, but they were locked out because of how Tshibaka personally added requirements that Jackson says were "illegal."

Here's another exchange uncovered by Jackson's FOIA. He says another group approached the state asking for an extension.

Tshibaka replied "No thank you."

Jackson says her cutting it short also cut out competition.

Jackson says the NGA membership is preposterous: "We're talking about paying money to be able to bid to the state of Alaska."

They only got ONE bidder. The Alaska-based bidder was locked out bcz they didn't have in-house legal services, which was illegal to include.

The Alaska bidder, BDO, appealed its rejection. It appealed, but it could only appeal to the State of Alaska. Said their only course forward would be to go to court.


Jackson also notes that there's supposed to be a 10-day waiting period before formally awarding a contract, which is intended to give others the opportunity to appeal. Of course, Tshibaka skipped that.

Jackson is going over BDO's appeal to the state, noting that the DoA skirted the process to the very end.

Says it should've gone to an administrative hearing, where they would have been able to subpoena the DoA/review the process.

"That's all been sidestepped here."

Jackson: "So what are we left with here? State procurement operations are a big deal. ... It's a bunch of money. ... It's important to have a system that's honest and fair."

Says Alaska's procurement code was intentionally constructed to serve the public.

Jackson: "My concern is there's a pattern emerging with the state's procurement function that's being used in a manner that demotes the public confidence and promotes malfeasance."

Jackson notes that, oh, by the way they removed the former chief procurement officer after threatening to cut their pay.... then hired a new chief procurement officer at $70K more.

Jackson: "There's enough here, in my opinion, that needs to be examined more carefully ... This is a big deal and I hope you will take appropriate action to give the citizens of this state some confidence that we're spending their money in an appropriate manner."

Rep. Thompson, a portrait of courage: "I really don't quite understand why we're doing all of this. Are we doing a witch hunt or what we are up to?"

Asks if Jackson is "working with BDO or Dermot Cole."

And then ducks out of the meeting.

Rep. Kreiss-Tomkins asks if he's seen similar behavior in past administrations.

Jackson: No. He says the RGA membership "is so far off the path that it's stunning."

Rep. Andi Story, in stark juxtaposition to Thompson: "I'm very concerned about the information we're hearing today. At the very minimum there seems to be a lack of understanding and knowledge about the major things in the procurement process."

Talking about the missing records, Jackson, who Fields now calls a citizen whistleblower, says : "At this point we don't know who did it or why they did it. And short of putting someone under oath, we may never know."

#akleg legal says she's unsure what recourse Jackson and others might have if the administration refuses to participate in records requests or legislative hearings.

Fields calls it "a middle finger to the very notion of the balance of power in government."
Jackson says that the prior experience clause in the RFP is normally used to ensure there's as much competition as possible but says in this case, with the involvement of Tshibaka, "it appears to me that clause was used to eliminate potential competition. "

Jackson about says "everything that's a problem within this procurement was contained in that clause."

Jackson has a FOIA that shows Tshibaka personally edited that clause least twice, adding the 25 year requirement and good standing requirement.

He says in his experience, a competitive bid process that only produces one bidder should raise some serious questions. But it doesn't seem like it did (again, the state replaced the chief procurement officer after forcing the previous career CPO out).

Jim Baldwin, another former state procurement, says he's concerned about the appeal. He says the state's stance that the legal services work was "material" to the contract isn't supported.

"I think the department in their decision-making didn't do that correct, either."

Wrapping up now. Rep. Fields says he hopes Commissioner Tshibaka would reconsider her refusal to participate with the #akleg and would meet with them.

• • •

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More from @mattbuxton

5 Oct
APOC is now back after a break. They have voted 3-2 to hear the issue of the Defend Alaska Elections' disclosure on an expedited basis.

They will likely take it up at some time on Wednesday. Figuring out precise timing now.

Yes on 2's Gottstein says anytime on Wednesday works for him.

Is Lee Baxter good with that? ....

Oh, he's not on the phone.

They're literally just waiting for him to call in.


"Mr. Baxter, is that you? .... No.... We will continue to wait."

Ah, now he's on.

Read 4 tweets
5 Oct
The APOC hearing between Yes on 2 for Better Elections v. Defend Alaska Elections, alleging that Defend Alaska Elections has been constantly violating campaign finance law on several different levels, is underway.

#akleg #akelect
The main topic of today's case before APOC is whether APOC should take up the complaints on an expedited basis.

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"It has never been correct," argues attorney Samuel Gottstein.

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15 Jul
The House HSS and State Affairs committees are meeting on COVID-19 safety in high-risk state facilities.

It'd be REALLY interesting given state's plan to open Pioneer Homes to visitors but it looks like the administration is a no-show.

#akleg #akgov…
First up was testimony from Marvin Jones, the president of Unite Here, who says hotel workers need better protections, saying there's "a financial pressure to work."

That some hotels have no safety and no training in place to deal with it.

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The employee said they had some symptoms and got tested.

Read 38 tweets
22 Apr
Woo! A busy #akleg day!

Up first is the H. Finance, which will hear an updated fiscal outlook and an update on federal CARES $. It sounds like they're still in a digesting stage on Dunleavy's proposal from last night.

Leg. Fin. Director Pat Pitney going over the state's spring revenue forecast that estimated oil would drop by $20 per barrel and production would be down ~4K barrels.

"We believe that both the price estimate and the production estimate could be very optimistic."

And if oil revenue wasn't bad enough, Pitney says if the COVID-19 market crash lasts ONLY one year that the long-term impact on the state's POMV draw would be a $300M hit. And that's IF it returns to 7% returns.

That's because the draw is a rolling five-year average.

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30 Jul 19
The Board of Regents is now hearing from Gov. Dunleavy directly. Follow live on

#akleg #akgov
Dunleavy, whose budget cut the university by $136M: "What I'd like to say is the university is an integral part of the state. ... The university has been a beneficiary of the state for years. ... Some of us are still living in a belief of $85 to $90 per barrel oil." #akleg
Dunleavy says his Feb. 13 budget "has caused quite a conversation for the state."

He says it's about "a new funding reality for the state" and calls "the game in Juneau about how much funding we can get for services in our districts." #akleg
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22 Jul 19
The Board of Regents is now back. President Johnsen is giving a presentation about the budget. "Yes, we enjoy huge public support ... but a simple majority is not enough and as a result uncertainty reigns and uncertainty is disabling the university in many ways." #akleg
Johnsen on financial exigency: "Given the very poor hand we have, it is the only tool available to us. ... None of us want to be here today." #akleg
Johnsen, rhetorically: "How can something so great, built by so many over so many years, be crippled by so few so quickly?" #akleg
Read 29 tweets

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