Day in the Life: State Procurement Specialist Amanda Carroll

A Day in the Life of a State Procurement Specialist

We all know the attorneys who support state procurement go to work every day to ensure that the state follows all applicable statutes and codes when procuring goods and services for the states… but what do they DO all day? In this ongoing series, we hope to show the range of experience and expertise these attorneys have and share the challenges and rewards of their roles.

In this first installment, meet Amanda Carroll, Central Contracts Specialist in the State of Colorado! We asked her some questions about her daily work life, and Amanda was gracious enough to share a lot of great information with us. Enjoy our interview below!

Q (Megan Smyth): What do you do for the State of Colorado and how did you end up in the Rocky Mountain State?

A: (Amanda Carroll): While I have lived and worked in Colorado for 6 years, I am originally from New York (shoutout to Brooklyn!). I am a member of the New York bar.  My work as a Central Contracts Specialist is varying but centers on template drafting for statewide templates and reviews and approvals of high-risk contracts across a number of state agencies, including the Office of Information Technology, Department of Local Affairs, Department of Education, and the Governor’s office.

Q: Give us a rundown of what a “typical” day is like for you, and if there is no such thing, tell us why!

A: If I had to describe a typical day, I work from home, so I tend to mosey into my office with some coffee and start the day by reviewing Fiscal Rule Waiver requests, limitation of liability requests, PO modification requests, and other types of requests that come in from agencies.

After that, I will begin reviewing and redlining high-risk contracts that have come in for pre-review. Throughout the day, I will also have sporadic meetings – sometimes, I will meet with agencies to discuss a new program or contract that is being started. Sometimes, I will have negotiations set up with contractors on more complex contracts, and sometimes, I will be meeting with my coworkers to discuss issues and trends across the state.

I tend to finish the day by going into DocuSign and our state’s financial system and signing any contracts that have come in that day for signature (which have already gone through internal review and approval).

Q: What motivates you to come to work every day?

A:  I really enjoy working for the people of the state of Colorado. Knowing that what I do directly impacts my community for the better is the main motivation to come to work each day. I also just really enjoy reading statutes, writing contracts, and thinking through complex procurement issues every day.

Q: How do you interact with the procurement professionals in your state on a daily basis?

A:  I work very closely with the contracting offices for the agencies I am assigned to, as well as the Procurement Directors who themselves work directly with program staff in their agencies. Not a day goes by that I don’t have some communication with them in some way. Moreover, I have decided to sit in on an RFP with an agency so I can learn more about how those are accomplished and how they impact the contract that ultimately results from them.

Q: Do you have other areas of concentration in the state besides procurement?

Unlike many other states, Colorado, based on the Controller statute, gives a certain degree of authority to draft templates and sign contracts to the State Controller, who then delegates a degree of that authority to the Central Contracts Unit within the State Purchasing and Contracts Office, where I work. The Controller works closely with the AG’s office on legal questions, but the drafting of statewide templates and negotiating and signing of (high-risk) contracts and grants is situated within our office rather than the AG’s office.

I work almost exclusively on Procurement – drafting/updating templates (both statewide and agency-specific), answering questions that come in from agency Purchasing Directors and Controllers, working on Fiscal Rule waivers, and reviewing requests to adjust state terms in purchase orders and templates. Our office also does some training related to procurement, such as contract drafting, delegation training for Controller delegation, etc.

Q:  What do you think the general public doesn’t know about state procurement that would surprise them?

A: The main thing that I think the general public doesn’t know about state procurement is how much really goes into it all and how much the people working in procurement care about the proper use of state funds and about the programs that the procurement is meant to help. The public often only hears about procurement when something goes wrong. When things go right, the public hears about the achievements of the program – no one is out there writing articles about good contract negotiations or a well-done RFP. I think it would surprise them how much we do and how much we really care about every word in a solicitation and every clause in a contract.



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *