May 31, 2023

Keeping Media and Government Accountable.

Kelly admin refuses to answer questions about $7 million no-bid contract

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Despite stating opposition to giving out a no-bid contract, Democrat Kansas Governor Laura Kelly continues to use them — and continues to refuse to answer questions about her latest deal.

On June 3, Kelly’s administration let an almost $6.9 million, one-year, sole-source contract with Accenture to do contact tracing.

The document establishing the administration’s justification for seeking yet another no-bid contract states: “It is critical to the success of this effort that contact tracing being (sic) immediately giving Kansas little lead time to seek or develop alternate solutions.”

Both documents were obtained in an Open Records request by Kansas Policy Institute, which owns the Sentinel.

Given that the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, and Kelly issued her stay-at-home order on March 28, 2020, it is unclear — and the Sentinel asked — why this contract couldn’t have been put out for bid.


There are privacy concerns as well with the Accenture agreement. Page 5 of the contract says, “Client will be responsible for ensuring that consent is obtained from individuals to share any data with Accenture and for its use in connection with this Project.”

The Sentinel asked KDHE and Kelly spokeswoman Lauren Fitzgerald for proof of how the roughly 400 contact tracing “associates the state plans to hire will obtain consent, and how much access outsiders will have to residents’ personal information, and — specifically — if Accenture is prohibited from selling personal information to third parties.

None of those questions were answered.


The Sole Source justification document notes that Accenture and the State of Kansas have done business before.

“Accenture has an established and proven track record within Kansas,” the document reads. “The State has a long standing relationship with Accenture which ensure (sic) rapid issue resolution and remediation. In addition, the existing technology components that Accenture already support will provide the backbone for the KDHE COVID-19 Track and Trace solution. These include integration middleware, dynamic document generation capabilities, and integration to the State of Kansas State Printer.”

The document also notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Accenture, based on work in Massachusetts.

“KDHE investigated the State of Massachusetts COVID-19 Track and Trace solution,” According to the document. “This solution, developed by Accenture, we assessed (sic) to meet the needs of Kansas to complement the existing EpiTrax disease surveillance system. Accenture brings a unique, proprietary asset to the State of Kansas that has been successfully deployed in other States (sic) including Massachusetts.”

All reasonable justifications for letting the contract in a regular bidding process, which begs the question: Why has the Kelly Administration refused to answer the Sentinel’s inquiries regarding the contract? Why did it take three months to let a contract for a procedure which is a standard protocol for dealing with any epidemic?

And why is mainstream media not questioning the Kelly administration’s apparent hypocrisy after glowingly writing about her opposition to no-bid contracts?

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