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Contracts

How many contracts does the department have?

Approximately 230, including memorandum of understanding, lease agreements, contracted services, etc.

How much money is spent through contracts in a year?

Payments made under these contracts total roughly $74 million dollars annually.

Who are the contracts with?

The Department of Corrections contracts with a wide range of providers from both public and private sector. We have contracts with county governments; private, non-profit organizations; medical professionals; property-leasing companies; and construction contractors.

What do contractors provide?

Contractors provide a wide variety of goods and services. They supply such things as food, clothing, drug and alcohol dependency treatment, county jail space, prerelease centers, mental health services, transportation, automated victim notification, medical care, education, prescription drugs, office space, and counseling.

Why does the department have so many contracts?

Generally speaking, it's due to the nature of our business and the ability of a contractor to quickly address our needs. Many of the services we provide to offenders require specialized staff that existing non-profit corporations have or can easily hire. In government, only the Legislature can approve a department's request for additional staff and lawmakers meet only every two years. But hiring contracted personnel can provide a service much more timely. Also, if a new building is needed to begin operations for a new program, then the long-range building program would be involved and that is part of each biennial legislative session. Long-range building projects usually take years to become reality. Therefore, beginning a new program utilizing state employees and a state owned building is very time-consuming and cumbersome. In contrast, a contractor may already have the employees and/or operate a program that we are looking for, and they can more quickly address the needs and become operational.

Who is responsible for drawing up contracts?

This is a cooperative effort between the Contracts Management Bureau and the requesting division. The bureau continually works with department attorneys to maintain a contract boilerplate that should be used for many contracts. This boilerplate contract contains most of the basic terms that should be addressed in every contract. However, many contracts require additional terms applied to address a specific contracted service. The primary responsibility of the requesting party is to provide an accurate description of the work to be performed and that is included in a contract under duties/responsibilities of the contractor. Depending on the situation, the requesting party will usually be responsible for negotiating compensation terms with the proposed contractor. This information will then be included in the compensation section of the contract. Bureau staff are available to assist with contract development at any time.

Who is responsible for keeping track of the contracts?

Department policy states the Contracts Management Bureau is responsible for routing and tracking all contracts in excess of $5,000. As part of this process, the bureau obtains the necessary insurance documents and appropriate workers' compensation certificates or exemptions from a contractor before routing a contract for signatures. Contracts are entered into the department's contract database and significant dates are flagged in order to provide a notice before the expiration of a document or contract. The bureau works directly with the contractor to obtain current documentation, as required by the contract. Trained contract liaisons are responsible for day-to-day monitoring of contracts. The liaisons and division administrators receive contract expiration notices not less than 90 days prior to contract expiration. Contract justification and a contractor performance evaluation is required before the department takes the necessary actions to amend the contract and continue the services.

What are the duties of contract liaisons?

The general duties of a contract liaison include: day-to-day oversight of the contract and the contractor, as appropriate; contract compliance (ensuring services are provided in accordance with the contract terms); review and approval of invoices for goods/services provided under the contract; conducting annual contractor performance evaluations; and, working with the Contracts Management Bureau to suggest contract modifications that may be necessary.

What are the functions of the Contracts Management Bureau staff?

The Contracts Management Bureau's primary functions include coordination and facilitation of the contracting process, management of all contracts exceeding $5,000, department-wide oversight of the procurement process, oversight and issuance of state purchasing cards, management of cellular telephones and data devices, management of state owned and leased vehicles assigned to the department, and facilitation of all office building leases.

Why is it important to closely monitor contracts?

Closely monitoring contracts is necessary to ensure contract compliance by all parties. In addition, monitoring is used to verify contract needs and that the contractor is providing services in accordance with contract terms. One of the most important reasons to closely monitor contracts is to detect and address potential contract deficiencies before they become a major issue. By staying on top of contract monitoring activities, we can work with the contractor and amend the contract, as necessary, thereby avoiding a potential legal process.

Can contracts be changed after they are signed?

Yes. This is called a contract "amendment." Amendments are necessary when a specific contract term must be modified. Contract modifications can be requested by the contractor or department staff. Most contracts are written for a specific period of time, but allow for the contract to be extended for an additional period of time upon mutual consent. The contract extension requires an amendment be issued to acknowledge, in writing, that both parties agree to continue with the contract terms for the additional period of time.

What happens if terms of a contract are violated?

The severity of a violation is dependent upon the term being violated. Many contract terms are a reflection of statute, administrative rule, or state or department policy. Therefore, such violations could seriously jeopardize the operations of the department and may require us to defend agency action or inaction in court, or to another department that may have oversight of the particular law or rule. Any violation of contract terms can quickly place the department at risk, both financially and legally and should be avoided at all times.

Where can DOC contracts be found?

All contracts are available though the department's Web site at this address:
http://www.cor.mt.gov/Resources/Contracts/default.mcpx