help_outline Skip to main content
Join Member Login

News / Articles

State of Maryland’s Office of Legislative Audits Performed on Public School Districts

Debbie Groat, C.P.M. , CPPB, ACG | Published on 1/18/2024

Over the last two years, the State of Maryland’s Office of Legislative Audits has performed several audits of public school districts.  The chart below is a summary of their audit findings as it relates to intergovernmental cooperative purchasing agreements (ICPA).  In one report, the OLA cites the authorizing law: “Section 13-110 of the State Finance and Procurement Article, of the Annotated Code of Maryland, in part, defines an ICPA as a contract that is entered into by at least one governmental entity in a certain manner, that is available for use by the governmental entity entering the contract and at least one additional governmental entity, and that is intended to promote efficiency and savings that can result from intergovernmental cooperative purchasing. The aforementioned law applies to all ICPAs regardless of the services, goods, or commodities purchased. In addition, Section 5-112(a)(3) of the Education Article, of the Code provides that local education agencies do not need to conduct competitive procurements for goods and commodities if they use a contract awarded by public agencies or intergovernmental purchasing organizations and the originating procuring agency followed public bidding procedures.”

The Institute for Public Procurement, formerly known as the National Institute of

Government Purchasing, as well as other public and educational organizations

have published ICPA best practices. These practices include comprehensive

multi-step checklists that require, among other things (as per the list above), that

prospective ICPA users verify that the contract allows other entities to participate.

In addition, ICPA users should ensure that the contract was awarded through a

competitive procurement process, and requires that addendums be executed

documenting their participation and incorporating local required terms and



Setting aside the arguments of applicability that subscription based associations are having on the public audit processes, it is worth repeating what these elements of measurement for best practices are.  In the Principles and Practices of Public Procurement – Use of Cooperative Contracts for Public Procurement, the checklist is as follows:

  • Compare the cooperative contracts available for the required product or service, conduct market research, and evaluate whether the use of a cooperative contract is appropriate.
  • Analyze all costs associated with conducting a competitive solicitation.
  • Ensure that the use of the cooperative contracts meets all competitive requirements.
  • Review the cooperative contract for conformance with all applicable laws and best practices.
  • Analyze the product or service specifications, price, terms and conditions and other factors such as, cost to utilize the contract, shipping, minimum spend requirements, and availability of contract documentation, to ensure that the cooperative contract produces best value.
  • Ensure that the organization/local required terms and conditions are incorporated into the contract.
  • Incorporate or remove additional terms and conditions by developing an addendum or purchase order that is signed by both procurement and the supplier.
  • Contact the cooperative lead government agency to verify contract application and eligibility


In the audits of public school districts that were reviewed for this


Prepared by Debbie Groat, C.P.M. , CPPB, ACG
Cooperative Purchasing Director for Baltimore
Regional Cooperative Purchasing Committee,
MPPA Cooperative Purchasing Committee Chair


Maryland Public Purchasing Assoc

The Maryland Public Purchasing Association, Inc. (MPPA) is a professional organization comprised of over 300 procurement professionals throughout the State. MPPA, Inc. members represent various public purchasing entities including the federal government, state, cities, counties, colleges and universities, libraries, hospitals, commissions and other public agencies. MPPA, Inc. is the local chapter of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP), which has over 70 chapters in the United States, Canada, and internationally.

Contact Us Today

For information on becoming a member, contact us at

For information on upcoming events

For assistance with this site, contact us

Stay Informed

Sign Up

for the Maryland Chapter of NIGP Mailing list. We'll keep you up to date on our workshops, events and annual conference.

Subscribe Now