Most state agencies cannot buy anything, and cannot make any new contracts for services.
State chief procurement officer Aaron Fujioka has left the post in which he was in charge of how most goods and services are bought by the state. Always Investigating found out that when Fujioka departed this week, he issued a directive that stripped most executive departments' authority to buy goods and services.
The state's accounting department, DAGS, has confirmed to KHON2 that "State executive agencies cannot make purchases as a result of Aaron's rescission."
That means a department like Health couldn't buy more new flu vaccines if they needed them. Health told KHON2 they should have enough on hand already. Other big buys such as contracts for new repair, maintenance or building jobs cannot be approved.
A handful of departments are exempt and can keep on buying, such as Education where the superintendent serves as the chief procurement officer; similarly, purchasing and contracting can continue at the University of Hawaii, and the legislative and judicial branches, as well as Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaii Health Systems Corporation.
Procurement oversight is important to make sure goods and services are bought in compliance with state rules, which usually include competitive pricing, open competition and other things meant to spend taxpayer dollars wisely.
KHON2 asked the governor’s office how is this going to be fixed; the governor plans to appoint an interim person into the chief-buying job by Monday. DAGS told KHON2 that person will then let the buying begin by restoring departments' permission to do it.
KHON2 is still trying to get comment from Aaron Fujioka; he was known for strict adherence to procurement code.
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There's a grinch at the Hawaii State Veteran's Cemetery. At least, that's what those who have loved ones buried there are saying. They've been told their holiday decorations at gravesites will have to come down.
Meals will not be prepared at Waipahu Elementary School. At least, not until the state figures out why 42 people, mostly children, became sick after lunch on Tuesday.