A Series of bills introduced on the floor of the Maryland Senate this week would allow the state's Board of Public Works to delegate to the various state agencies the authority to arrange many of their own leases and contracts.
The bills, which are the product of a study commission headed by state treasurer and Board of Public Works member William S. James, are designed to reduce the workload of the board, which currently faces at two-inch thick ageda at each of its monthly meetings.
If the bills pass, the board - composed of State Treasurer James, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and Acting Gov. Blair Lee III - could free itself of the responsibility of giving prior review and approval to almost all state contracts and leases.
In addition, one piece of legislation would establish as law a procedure that has been practiced by the board for the past two years - that the board would review all state contracts in excess of $100,000.
According to Senate aides familiar with the bills, none of the proposed legislation would affect the current requirement that all state construction contracts worth more than $10,000 must be awarded by a competitive bidding process.
Under Maryland law, the board has the responsibility of awarding all state contracts and approving arrangements for all state leases worth more than $2,000.
If the legislative package proposed by the James commission and sponsored by Sen. Roy N. Staten (D-Baltimore) is passed by the legislature, the board could aloow the department heads of the various agencies to make their own arrangements on contracts and leases worth less than specified dollar limits established by the board.
The legislative package was approved unanimously by Staten's Budget and Taxation Committee last week before going to the Senate floor.