Attorney General: Rock Regan, Department of Information Technology, 2001-016 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

July 3, 2001

Rock Regan
Chief Information Officer
Department of Information Technology
340 Capitol Avenu
Hartford, CT 60106

Dear Mr. Regan:

The Auditors of Public Accounts have notified this Office of what they consider to be an irregularity in the delegation of purchasing authority from the Department of Information Technology ("DOIT") to the Department of Social Services ("DSS") in connection with the selection of a contractor to administer and develop a management information system for DSS’s consolidated Child Care Assistance Program. Specifically, the Auditors express the opinion that the delegation of authority in question, if permitted under the Connecticut General Statutes, should have been made in writing, rather than given verbally, as appears to have been the case. The Auditors have asked whether this Office agrees with their position and, if so, they have suggested that we inform you. For the reasons that follow, we agree with the Auditors' position and, therefore, advise you that all future delegations of purchasing authority must be in writing.

As you know, DOIT was established in 1997 by Conn. Public Act No. 97-9 of the June 18th Special Session of the General Assembly in order to improve the management of state agency information and telecommunication systems. This public act is now codified in Title 4d of the Connecticut General Statutes. The administrative head of DOIT is the Chief Information Officer; see, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4d-2(a); and, in furtherance of the purposes for which DOIT was created, the Chief Information Officer was made "responsible for purchasing, leasing and contracting for all information system and telecommunication system facilities, equipment and services for state agencies, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) of section 4d-8" of the Connecticut General Statutes. See, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4d-2(c)(6). Subsection (a) of Section 4d-8 provides, in turn, that the Chief Information Officer shall follow the same purchasing procedures used by the Commissioner of Administrative Services in Title 4a of the Connecticut General Statutes: "The provisions of title 4a shall apply to the purchasing, leasing and contracting for information system and telecommunication system facilities, equipment and services by the Chief Information Officer, except that (1) the Chief Information Officer shall have the powers and duties that are assigned by said title 4a to the Commissioner of Administrative Services . . .".

Pursuant to the purchasing procedures in Title 4a, the Commissioner of Administrative Services may delegate authority to individual state agencies to make direct purchases when deemed in the best interest of the State, but this delegation must be in writing. See, e.g., Conn. Gen. Stat. §§ 4a-52(1), 4a-52(2) and 4a-52a(e). Ergo, the Chief Information Officer, exercising the same powers granted to the Commissioner of Administrative Services in Title 4a, also "may delegate authority to any state agency to purchase supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services, consistent with section 4a-67c, if the commissioner determines, in writing, that (1) such delegation would reduce state purchasing costs or result in more efficient purchasing and (2) the agency has employees with the experience and expertise in state purchasing statutes, regulations and procedures." Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4a-52a(e) (emphasis added).

In sum, the Chief Information Officer is empowered to delegate his purchasing authority to a state agency to make purchases falling within the purview of Title 4d, but any such delegation of authority must be in writing and exercised in accordance with the provisions applicable to the Commissioner of Administrative Services in Title 4a as set forth above.

Should you have any questions concerning this matter, please feel free to contact me.

Very truly yours,

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL
ATTORNEY GENERAL

cc: Hon. Kevin P. Johnston
     Hon. Robert G. Jaekle


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