The Board of Education has strengthened its autonomy by creating an appeals process committee that would take charge of procurement disputes.
Under the current procurement rules of the Public Schools System system, project contractors and bidders who are dissatisfied with the education commissioner’s decision can appeal their cases directly to the Office of the Public Auditor.
With the creation of the “PSS Procurement Appeals Process,” such cases will now go up to the Board of Education for review and decision.
BOE chair Herman T. Guerrero said that creating this new panel will strengthen the board’s autonomy in making sound decisions for public school operations.
The new panel will composed of three members of the board appointed by the BOE chairman. A chairperson to lead the panel will be selected among these three.
“Our current regulation states that after the COE decision, any appeal goes to OPA. Since we are an autonomous agency, it should go up to the board and from the board to the court if that’s required as part of the process,” explained Guerrero.
The appeal process committee may “affirm, reverse or modify the decision or remand it for further consideration.”
Based on the new policy, when a protest against the making of an award is received, the award shall be withheld pending disposition of the protest. The bidders whose bids might become eligible for award shall be informed of the protests.
When a written protest is received, award shall not be made until the matter is resolved, unless it is determined that the materials and services to be contracted for are urgently required; delivery or performance will be unduly delayed by failure to make award promptly; or a prompt award will be advantageous to the PSS.
But if this happens, the education commissioner must explain the need for an immediate award.
“A written appeal to the appeals committee from a decision by the COE may be taken provided that the party taking the appeal has first submitted a written protest to the COE and otherwise fully complied and the COE has denied the protest or has failed to act on the protest within the time provided,” states the new policy.