Kansas inks efficiency study for $2.6M

(KSNT Photo/Tracy Smith)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have agreed to pay a firm about $2.6 million to perform a government efficiency study although another firm offered to do the job for less than $1 million.

The state signed a contract Monday with Alvarez & Marsal, which would be paid $2.6 million to perform the study, The Wichita Eagle reported. Another firm, McGladrey, said it would do the job for less than $1 million. Another firm, Deloitte, submitted a bid for $2.5 million, and the Boston Consulting Group submitted a bid for $2.8 million.

Rachel Whitten, spokeswoman for House Speaker Ray Merrick, said in an email Monday that lawmakers considered expertise before cost when choosing the firm and that “McGladrey’s scope of work was not as extensive as A&M.”

“A&M’s executive professionalism and experience made them the top technical choice,” Whitten said. “While McGladrey’s price was much lower, their bid was not as thorough.”

The Kansas contract includes a diagnostic analysis of the state’s budget, an evaluation of the state’s budget process and the submission of a set of cost-saving recommendations. The Legislature is exempt from the study.

Republican lawmakers said in a release Monday that Alvarez & Marsal helped North Carolina’s Medicaid program go from a $487 million shortfall in 2013 to a $130 million surplus last year.

“I’m impressed that A&M employs executives who routinely step in to act as interim CFOs, comptrollers, and other top leadership positions in organizations around the world,” Merrick said in the release. “That kind of experience combined with a fresh perspective should provide us with the recommendations we need to make state government more efficient and effective.”

Details of the bids for the Kansas project became public Monday.

Alvarez & Marsal, which has an office in Kansas City, Mo., donated $2,000 toward Gov. Sam Brownback’s 2010 campaign and $1,000 toward his 2014 re-election campaign. None of the other firms made donations to Brownback.

A legislative committee, not the governor, selected the consulting firm.

Sen. Laura Kelly, D-Topeka, who sat on the committee that selected the firm, said there was no political pressure to pick Alvarez & Marsal. But she said while she supported selecting Alvarez & Marsal at the time, she felt the process was rushed.

“It was just all sort of hurried up and let’s ‘get-‘er-done’ approach. . The only background we got was what the companies gave us,” she said.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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