UW System Orders Audit of UW-Madison Project Bidding Process | Higher Education

The University of Wisconsin system ordered an audit late last month of UW-Madison’s bidding process for a major project just days before one of the companies not selected for the contract was due. raises concerns and calls for an investigation.

Last year, UW-Madison sought out a vendor to help set up its Administrative transformation programa massive, multi-year project that will move the university’s administrative services, such as payroll, human resources and finance, to a more secure cloud-based system.

In the recent episode of Rewind: Your Week in Review, WisPolitics.com JR Ross, editor, and Jessie Opoien, editor of the Capital Times, discuss the nomination of former Governor Tommy Thompson as interim president of the UW system. This came after University of Alaska President Jim Johnsen stepped down from being the one and only nomination. Under current university policy, acting appointees cannot seek permanent employment unless they receive a waiver, and Thompson has asked to be paid the minimum salary of $489,334. UW Regents Karen Walsh, an Evers appointee, and Regent President Andrew Petersen, a Walker appointee, both support Thompson.

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Acting system president Tommy Thompson called the project “absolutely essential” to modernizing budget management on campuses.

“However, it is critical that at every stage we solidly manage the project with full transparency and accountability,” he said in a statement Thursday announcing the commissioning of an independent review.

The system’s review of UW-Madison’s bidding process began in mid-February, days before one of the vendors, Deloitte Consulting, informed UW-Madison of its “serious concerns”.

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The Wisconsin procurement process requires that all vendors be notified of which vendor has been selected for the job. Companies that lost the contract then have a certain period of time to appeal to the Department of State Administration.

Thompson said the review stems from this “potential missed step.”

Deloitte alleges UW-Madison allowed two competitors, Huron and Accenture, to help craft part of the bid and then bid on the project — a process the company decried as “tainted with a lack of transparency, unequal treatment and conflicts of interest that cannot be tolerated in public procurement.

UW-Madison evaluated the companies through what is called a request for proposals. The university evaluated vendors based on the quality of their proposal and past experience, not just the amount they offered.

Huron and Accenture were awarded $808,000 and $819,000 contracts respectively to work on the first phase of the UW-Madison project, according to System.

In a letter to Deloitte on Monday, UW-Madison chief purchasing officer Lori Voss said the RFP was canceled Feb. 18 — five days before the company raised concerns in its Feb. 23 letter. February. She said the university would not solicit new offers until the review was completed.

“An audit will determine all the facts, but this process issue would not have materially impacted the awards made to two of the five vendors who submitted bids through this open and public process,” said the University spokesman John Lucas.

The System’s Office of Internal Audit conducts the review. The office reports to Thompson and the UW Board of Trustees, but has independent authority.

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