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Testimony of Nancy Hapeman on the Implementation of Phase Two of the Delegated Procurement Authority Operating Structure

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good morning, Chairman Mendelson and members of the Committee of the Whole. I am Nancy Hapeman, Interim Director of the Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP.) Today, I will offer testimony on the agency’s progress in the transition to the Delegated Procurement Authority operating structure.  I am joined today by the Chief of Staff, Yinka Alao, and our Strategic Development and Analysis Officer, Phyllis Love.

In February 2014, it was announced that the Office of Contracting and Procurement would transition from a centralized, commodity-based organization to an operation with procurement staff dedicated to and co-located with the program agencies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the procurement process.  The Delegated Procurement Authority (“DPA”) operating structure allows contracting staff to gain firsthand knowledge about the programs they support while engaging the program staff throughout the procurement lifecycle. Contracting staff assigned to the DPA agencies remain on the OCP budget and under the authority of the Chief Procurement Officer, while the day-to-day management of the staff is handled jointly with the customer agency. OCP’s central office retains responsibility for simplified acquisitions, the DC Supply Schedule, special projects, and District-wide acquisition of universal goods and services; training and certification of procurement staff; monitoring performance of contracting officers and specialists assigned to DPA agencies; and internal quality assurance.

Over a six-week period in May and June 2014, 60 procurement staffers were deployed to 22 DPA agencies. Prior to the deployment, agency heads and affected staff were briefed about the respective roles and responsibilities of OCP and customer agencies in the DPA operating structure.  Through the end of the fiscal year, OCP leadership continued to work with customer agencies and deployed staff to ensure a smooth transition and provide additional support as necessary, in addition to providing ongoing operational support from the central office staff.

In phase two of the transition to the Delegated Procurement Authority operating structure, customer agency staff whose jobs consist of more than 51 percent procurement-related work will be converted to OCP staff. Through surveys and analysis conducted by a team of Business Operations Managers, procurement staff, and Quality Assurance analysts in conjunction with the Office of the City Administrator, 50 agency contracting staffers at 12 agencies were identified as meeting these criteria for conversion. The affected staffers are still assigned to their respective agencies, but will now operate under the authority of the Chief Procurement Officer.

In November 2014, OCP engaged the Office of Labor Relations and Collective Bargaining (OLRCB) to notify six collective bargaining units of the conversion. As a follow-up to the written notification, OLRCB convened a meeting with union representatives and program agencies to discuss next steps. The Memorandum of Understanding authorizing the transfer of affected staff was signed by the then-City Administrator on behalf of the DPA agencies on December 23, 2014. The affected staff members were notified on January 2, 2015 of the impending transfer and that they should expect further information in the coming weeks.

Since those letters were issued, we have briefed the Office of the City Administrator on the DPA initiative and worked internally to develop a comprehensive strategy for completing the transfer. Starting this week, I will meet with leadership and staff at customer agencies to lay out our plan and answer any questions they may have. Following those briefings, we will employ a similar strategy used during the first phase of the transition to DPA which included site visits by our Support Services and IT divisions and a DPA-centric orientation for the staff. This iteration of the transition includes partnering with DCHR to make the appropriate transfers in the system-of-record; engaging the OCFO and the Mayor’s Office on Budget and Finance to finalize the transfer; and administering the introductory procurement training that all new employees are required to complete.

In support of the transition to the Delegated Procurement Authority operating structure, the development and rollout of the Procurement Training Institute as required by the Procurement Practices Reform Act of 2010 remains a top priority for the agency. In April 2014, OCP contracted with The George Washington University to develop a tiered certification for procurement professionals in the District. In December, approximately 18 procurement staff and six trainers completed the pilot of the certification program. OCP’s learning and development team, led by our Chief Learning Officer, have shared feedback with GWU staff and requested program enhancements for the next cohort which is expected to begin in early April. OCP’s learning and development team completed the certification exam yesterday.

Mayor Bowser’s administration fully supports phase two of the transition to the Delegated Procurement Authority operating structure and the rollout of the Procurement Training Institute.  The expectation is that OCP will continue to work with agencies and our staff to ensure overall satisfaction with the execution of the DPA structure and that well-trained teams are assigned to our customer agencies. In fiscal year 2015, our goal is to collect baseline data from sustainable qualitative and quantitative measures to assess how Delegated Procurement Authority has improved the efficiency of the procurement organization and the level of service we deliver to our customer agencies.  

Thank you for the opportunity to testify and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.