News & Events

State Procurement Office Launches Aloha eBUYS

January 3, 2024
The State Procurement Office (SPO) kicked off the Aloha eBUYS Project in late 2023, moving Hawai’i one step closer to  its goal of digitizing and streamlining state procurement processes.  In this multi-year phased  project,  the SPO will collaborate with Periscope, a mdf commerce company, to implement the State’s new cloud-based eProcurement solution.  This new solution, Aloha eBUYS, will transform the procurement processes for Executive Branch Departments and empower vendors to do business with the State more efficiently.

Beginning in late 2024, Aloha eBUYS will begin delivering the following:


SHOP | Providing a Marketplace from which department and state entity buyers can easily browse and purchase from statewide contracts



SOURCE | Streamlining solicitation creation, publication, evaluation and awarding in one easy-to-use platform

CONNECT | Improving insight and automation by connecting vendors and buyers  throughout the procurement process with qualification, performance management and contract negotiation

CONTRACT | Increasing efficiency and transparency with Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) through collaborative contract authoring and performance monitoring


State of Hawaii Signs Agreement to Digitize and Streamline Procurement Process

September 6, 2023
The State of Hawaii signed a multi-year agreement to use mdf commerce’s advanced procurement technology suite to digitize and streamline its end-to-end procurement process.  mdf commerce inc is a SaaS leader in digital commerce technologies.  The State of Hawaii became the 10th State/Province to join the mdf commerce eprocurement customer community.

Click here for the complete article.


Airports Step Up to Pilot for Procurement Business Process Review


The DOT Airports’ System has volunteered to be the first State department to participate in a review of their internal procurement policies and procedures for the purposes of finding efficiencies and becoming ”system-ready” for our new eProcurement Vision.

The eProcurement Vision is the implementation of a robust eProcurement System covering the entire procurement lifecycle — from Planning to Conclusion — for the Executive branch as well as optionally for all other Hawaii CPO Jurisdictions.

Before we can provide a great system, we must be sure we have processes that can transfer from the manual or hybrid way we are doing it now to this new digital landscape.

The State Procurement Office (SPO) joined DOT Airports this week with Civic Initiatives. We collaborated step-by-step through each part of the procurement process, covering all procurement types, workforce organization, workflow reviews, and forms.

Ford Fuchigami, DOT-Airports Administrative Services Officer and a passionate champion for a 21st Century Airport system, stated: “We are working as one team, developing a future state for the Airport System in how we deal with the full life-cycle of procurements and contracts. We believe there are many opportunities to achieve cost savings and efficiencies as we re-imagine our internal procurement processes and policies, and we are excited to be first in the Executive Branch to do this kind of review to be ready for implementing the eProcurement system Vision.”

The review should be completed by December this year. Other Departments will follow this review and implementation plan. The intent is to conduct research to develop a robust solicitation, to develop our funding model and create an implementation plan for all 21 Executive Branch departments. SPO is asking these departments, especially the larger, more complex departments, to sign up for their place in the line to ultimately assist us in smoothly transitioning from a hodge-podge set of systems and manual processes into a quicker, more efficient, transparent procurement system!

SPO Updates Mission and Unveils Vision Statement

After much collaboration, Sarah Allen and the State Procurement Office (SPO) Supervisors updated its Mission and created Vision Statement.

MISSION:  The SPO acts as a strategic partner to foster public confidence by promoting procurement life-cycle excellence, program success, and government accountability.

VISION STATEMENT:  To create transformative leadership for public procurement excellence.

The SPO looks forward to a partnership with the Executive Branch of the State of Hawaii, other state and county jurisdictions, and vendors.

Pictured from left to right:  Michael Ong, John Vedder, Sarah Allen, Bonnie Kahakui, Mei Phillips (standing), Donn Tsuruda-Kashiwabara, and Kevin Takaesu.


Car Rental Program Mentioned in National Magazine

You can read about the cooperative contract for rental car services in the latest issue of American City & County.


HANDS Wins 2018 Webaward

The Hawaii Awards & Notices Data System (HANDS) won the 2018 Webaward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development from the Web Marketing Association.  The project team included staff from the State Procurement Office and the Hawaii Information Consortium, LLC, dba  Congratulations the team members who worked directly on HANDS and also those who supported the team indirectly.

Since 1997, the Web Marketing Association’s annual WebAward Competition has been setting the standard of excellence for Website development. Independent expert judges from around the world review sites in 96 industries. The best are recognized with a WebAward which helps interactive professionals promote themselves, their companies, and their best work to the outside world. The WebAward Competition is the premier award recognition program for Web developers and advertising agencies.


SPO Congratulates AHGPA Scholarship Recipient Starla Takara

The SPO awarded scholarship funds for professional development through the Alaska-Hawaii Government Procurement Association (AHGPA) to Starla Takata, a Procurement Specialist for the City and County of Honolulu.  Starla will use her scholarship to prepare for the Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) exam.

“Becoming a Certified Professional Public Buyer is one of my current goals that I hope to achieve in the next two years,” Starla said.  “Through the scholarship, I have the opportunity to further work towards my goal by enrolling in a CPPB assessment tool. With the assessment tool, I can be more prepared and confident when taking the exam. Obtaining certification means a lot to me, which is why I am so thankful for the opportunity,” she added.

Congratulations, Starla!


Reminder:  Piggyback Contracts Not Allowed

Periodically, government procurement staff and buyers may receive an email, like the one pictured, inviting agencies to participate in a contract which is available through a cooperative organization such as U.S. Communities.  Unless your jurisdiction complies with HAR Section 3-128 -2, Cooperative Purchasing Subject to Chapter 103D, HRS, these types of “piggyback” contracts are not permitted and shall not be used.

Similar organizations that may contact you include  National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA), National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA), and the National IPA to name just a few.  As a reminder, all cooperative agreements are subject to HAR Section 3-128-2.

Current SPO price and vendor list contracts, including cooperative agreements are available on the SPO at

SPO in the June 2018 Issue of Digital Supply Chain Magazine 

The SPO is featured in the June 2018 issue of Digital Supply Chain magazine, starting on Page 96, in the article, “How an Aloha culture steers procurement in the State of Hawaii.”


UH and DOE Interfaced with HANDS

The University of Hawaii and the Department of Education are now part of HANDS, thanks to a simple application program interface.  HANDS gathers information from multiple state procurement platforms and displays it all on a single place.  Vendors can view all opportunities to do business with the State of Hawaii and various agencies.  HANDS also provides a single-user friendly display of notices for solicitations and awards, and manages and tracks Hawaii Compliance Express status.  There is no cost or login required to browse HANDS.  The SPO is working with other jurisdictions in Hawaii on interfacing with their eProcurement systems.


Request for Information on Act 233 (SLH 2015): Section 2 – Relating to Hawaiian Plants

House Bill No. 206 HD2, SD1, CD1 was signed into law by Governor Ige on July 13, 2015, and went into effect on June 30, 2016.  The purpose of Act 233 SLH 2015 is to amend HRS §103D-408 in order to contribute to a Hawaiian sense of place, to reduce the use of non-native invasive plant species, and to support the preservation of Hawaii’s cultural and ecological heritage.

The Procurement Policy Board is requesting that the guidance for this Act be reviewed by State and County Departments and Agencies, and that these Departments/Agencies provide comments, if any, no later than COB, Friday, April 6, 2018, via email to: [email protected]

The guidance to review includes the following documents (click on links):

Responses should include respondent’s name, title or area of expertise, organization, and contact information.  Please provide any comments on the PD, PC and Exclusion Form.  Please also state whether the requirements of the new policy of Act 233 and guidelines implementing exclusions in the PD/PC are clear and that you have no comments to offer, or if you have any suggestions to improve clarity.

Please keep in mind that the new Hawaiian plant footprint requirements that will be phased in beginning in 2019 are already law, properly passed and codified in statute.  This request seeks information to strengthen and clarify the Procurement Directive and Procurement Circular that will implement the exclusion guidelines.


Act 233 SLH 2015 requires that all publicly funded landscaping projects include a minimum percentage of Hawaiian plants with a gradual timetable for the incorporation of Hawaiian plants, beginning in 2019, as follows:

  • By January 1, 2019, ten percent of the total plant footprint.
  • By January 1, 2025, twenty percent of the total plant footprint.
  • By January 1, 2030, thirty five percent of the total plant footprint.

However, the amendments will not affect landscaping plans or projects that have already been initiated, as Act 233 does not apply so as to impair any contract existing as of the effective date of June 30, 2016.


Sarah Allen Speaks About Leadership

Sarah Allen participated in the Leadership Storytelling session during the National Contract Management Association’s Government Contract Management Symposium in December 2017 in Washington, D.C.  Watch the video here.


NASPO: Enhancing Strategic Value

Do you wonder why we have procurement, why it’s important and what it’s about? The National Association for State Procurement Officials (NASPO) has a great publication, “Enhancing Strategic Value,” which you should read!


SPOCon 2017 Trains 100+ Government Professionals

The State Procurement Office thanks the 110+ state and county procurement/purchasing personnel, three teams nominated for the Procurement Professional Excellence Team Award, 28 vendors who have statewide contracts, five inspirational speakers, and ‘Olelo Community Media for  SPOCon, a one-day training event held on October 20, 2016, at the Hilton Waikiki Beach.

SPO Administrator Sarah Allen presents the 2017 Procurement Professional Team Award to Steve Wilhelm and Jeff Dansdill of the County of Hawaii Purchasing Division.

The one-day training conference included

  • Recognition of nominees for the Hawaii Procurement Professional Excellence Team
  • Hawaii State Procurement Updates
  • Training on
    • Acquisition Planning and Market Research, by Krista S. Ferrell of NASPO
    • Buying Local: Hawaii Product Preference, by Robyn Pfahl of the Department of Agriculture
    • People Smarts for Leaders – Utilizing Everything DiSC®, by Cindy Sakai of TH!NK LLC
    • IT Procurement, by Dustin Lanier of Civic Initiatives
  • Keynote Address on “Aloha” by Pono Shim of the Economic Development Board
  • A presentation by and face-to-face interaction with vendors
  • Disaster Procurement Simulation

‘Olelo Community Media will air SPOCon in various portions.  Stay tuned for airdates.

One of the highlights of SPOCon was the award breakfast, which announced the County of Hawaii Purchasing Division as the winner of the 2017 Hawaii Procurement Professional Excellence Team Award.  The team was selected from three nominees who were recognized by their departments for being extremely hard-working, dedicated and passionate professionals in government procurement.


Congratulations to Jeff Dansdill on receiving the 2017 NIGP Volunteer Award.

Jeff Dansdill wins 2017 NIGP Volunteer Award

Jeff Dansdill, CPPPO, CPPB, Senior Contract Manager for the Hawaii Health Systems Corporation, was awarded the 2017 National Institute of Government Procurement (NIGP) Volunteer Award for his work in starting the Alaska-Hawaii Governmental Procurement Association (AHGPA). The newest NIGP Chapter, and its first virtual chapter, AHGPA currently serves more than 80 procurement professionals in the 49th and 50th States.  Jeff was elected as its first president and works with a team of dedicated professionals from both state to provide professional development opportunities and a place for procurement professionals to connect.

For more information regarding AHGPA, visit or email Jeff at [email protected].

Congratulations, Jeff!



Hawaii stakeholders meet with FirstNet at Hawaii Initial Consulation in August 2015

SPO Works with FirstNet as Part of Disaster Preparedness

With Hawaii in the middle of hurricane season, the SPO is working on emergency procurement of goods and services as part of its disaster preparedness efforts.  One of those efforts is in conjunction with FirstNet, a nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN).

In August 2015, more than 90 public safety representatives from Hawaii joined the FirstNet team for the state’s Initial Consultation Meeting, which highlighted the ongoing threats Hawaii faces – from natural disasters to the challenges of being an island state with dramatic terrain and predominantly rural demographics.  FirstNet provided program details and obtained local perspectives and inputs on disaster preparedness and communications.  Discussions highlighted the ongoing threats that Hawaii faces from natural disasters and the other challenges that confront an island state with dramatic terrain and predominately rural demographics.

Hawaii Governor David Ige highlighted the opportunity to collaborate on a network dedicated to the fulfillment of public safety missions of disciplines and jurisdictions spanning the state.

The SPO will continue to work on emergency procurement and multi-agency collaboration.


SPO Congratulates Erwin Wright of Kauai County on Nomination for Procurement Professional Excellence Award

SPO Administrator Sarah Allen congratulated Erwin Wright, the Specifications and Procurement Specialist VI for the Division Purchasing, on being nominated for the 2016 Procurement Professional Excellence Award.  Erwin has committed 20 years of his professional life to the Division of Purchasing, and has a total of 31 years of service to the County of Kauai.   He has brought the best of procurement and technology to help move the Division of Purchasing achieve a higher degree of effectiveness and efficiency. Erwin has also presented himself as a man of great vision and perspective with regard to understanding the critical importance of moving toward the various technological enhancements and resources that are available in the 21sty century.

Erwin was nominated by Ernie Barreira, Assistant Chief Procurement Officer/Budget Chief of the Division of Purchasing for the County of Kauai. The certificate presentation took place at the Kauai County’s Mo’ikeha Building. Pictured from left to right: Sarah Allen, Raina Bautista, Jason Coloma Erwin Wright, Ernie Barreira, Carrie Moses, and Kristi Mahi.  Congratulations Erwin!


SPO Lauds Passage of Legislation for Small Business Initiative 

The SPO is happy to report that the Legislature passed a bill to establish a temporary small business initiative, small business advisory group, and small business office within the State Procurement Office.   HB 1382 HD1 SD1 CD1, which  is awaiting signature by Gov. David Y.Ige, will help local small businesses, especially those owned by veterans, Native Hawaiians and women, secure state contracts.  Mahalo to Pacific Business News on the article about this legislation.

Link to PBN article: SPO Seeks to Help Small Businesses

Link to HB 1382 HD1 SD1 CD1:

SPO Successes and Initiatives For Improved Procurement 

2016_10 SPO Fall Newsletter with (ReThe State Procurement Office continues to work on a number of initiatives to move toward better, easier, and faster procurement for State Departments/Agencies and all Counties, with the end goal of saving taxpayer dollars.  Please read SPO Successes and Initiatives for details.

Since January 2014, the SPO has achieved many goals and achievements, which were made possible with the help of procurement/purchasing staff, vendors, stakeholders, and legislators.  The SPO thanks all those who have partnered with us on these achievements.


Inaugural SPOCon A Successspocon-logo-small

Mahalo to the more than 110 state and county procurement/purchasing personnel, vendors who have statewide contracts, various speakers,  ‘Olelo Community Media, and Governor David Y. Ige for making SPOCon 2016 a success.  SPOCon, a one-day training event held on October 21, 2016, at the Hilton Waikiki Beach included

Please click on each topic for a link to the handout and see SPOCon 2016 Program for the complete program.

‘Olelo Community Media will air SPOCon in various portions on Channel 49 or online at throughout the month of November.  Click here for airdates.

SPO shared with the attendees on the initiatives to move towards better, easier, and faster procurement for State Departments, Agencies and Counties. To read details about the SPO’s work and future initiatives, please read the SPO Fall Newsletter.

One of the highlights of SPOCon was the award luncheon, which announced the Inaugural Hawaii Procurement Professional Excellence Award. Greg King, Central Purchasing Agent for the County of Maui, was presented the award by Governor David Y. Ige and State Procurement Office Administrator Sarah Allen.  Greg was selected from seven nominees who were recognized by their departments for being extremely hard-working, dedicated and passionate professionals in government procurement.


Gov. David Y. Ige and SPO Administrator Sarah Allen present the 2016 Procurement Professional Excellence Award to Gregory King during an award luncheon.

The other nominees for 2016 (pictured below) who were also recognized are as follows:

  • Debra Gagne, Office of Enterprise Technology Services (2nd from left)
  • Susan Gray-Ellis, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (3rd from left)
  • Tammy Lee, Department of Transportation (5th from left)
  • Lois Mow, Department of Education (6th from left)
  • Krystal-Lee Tabangcura, Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (seventh from left)
  • Erwin Wright, County of Kauai, Department of Finance


They have each demonstrated a continued pursuit of excellence in government procurement and contracting for their respective agencies. They are each looked to for guidance and leadership in procurement. Their commitment, motivation, and vision are only outweighed by their character and pride in public service.

Greg has been in public service for 24 years.  He is in charge of procurement and contracting for all of the agencies in the County of Maui and supervises a staff of six procurement and contract staff in the Purchasing Division.  The Purchasing Division is involved with all goods, services, and construction procurement for the County of Maui.

During FY16, Greg’s team processed over $84 million in goods, services and construction, and 25,000 pCard transactions. Their cost avoidance measures were estimated at $1.2 million.

As Maui County’s Central Purchasing Agent, Greg educated the County Council and the County auditor on the overall value and savings generated by the pCard program. Greg has conducted numerous training sessions for various county groups on procurement policy and procedures and is an instructor in the County Supervisor training academy sponsored by the County of Maui Personnel Division.

Greg carries himself with impeccable leadership and professionalism and is sought out for guidance and direction by his colleagues at both the county and state levels.  He has been appointed to the Procurement Policy Board numerous times.  As a member of the PPB, Greg assists the State Legislature in reviewing and passing rules developed by the State Procurement Office as a result of new legislation passed by the Legislature. He is currently the chair of the PPB, a position he held since 2012, and in the past he has served as a member from 2000 to 2008, and as chair from 2005 to 2008.

Greg is also a member of the National Institute of Government Procurement and earned his Certified Public Procurement Officer designation in 2016, and is the Treasurer of the Alaska-Hawaii Government Procurement Association, which was incorporated in July 2016.

In addition to having a full-time job, Greg is a dedicated member of his community. He has volunteered in various community activities over the years, including the Leukemia Society, the American Heart Association, Community Work Day, Maui Academy of Performing Arts, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Congratulations to Greg on being named the recipient of the 2016 Hawaii Procurement Professional Excellence Award.

SPO Holds Cost & Pricing Training on Kauai, Hawaii Island and Maui

Acting Assistant Administrator Mara Smith greets the audience of 40+ in Kahului.

Acting Assistant Administrator Mara Smith greets the audience of 40+ in Kahului.

In July, the SPO visited Kauai, the Big Island of Hawaii and Maui and provided training more than a collective total of 180 state and county personnel on

Contract Management and Procurement Pricing. Mara Smith, Acting Assistant Administrator and Training Director for the SPO, spoke on Contract Management, emphasizing the need for a well thought out plan and how to manage a successful contract. Sarah Allen, SPO Administrator, provided a briefing on how pricing effects each stage in the procurement life-cycle.

SPO Administrator Sarah Allen awaits her turn for training on Cost & Pricing in Kahului.

SPO Administrator Sarah Allen at training on Cost & Pricing in Kahului.

Mahalo to all who coordinated training on their respective island:

  • Ernest “Ernie” Barreira, Assistant Chief Procurement Officer/Budget Chief, Division of Purchasing, Dept. of Finance, County of Kauai;
  • Jeff Dansdill, Purchasing Agent, Purchasing Division, Department of Finance, County of Hawaii
  • Greg King, Purchasing Agent, Purchasing Division, Department of Finance, County of Maui

The SPO plans to hold other training events on the neighbor islands next summer.



Pictured from left to right: Lisa Miura, Mara Smith, Sarah Allen, Jeff Dansdill, Carey Ann Sasaki and Owen Kano worked together to bring a training session to Hilo. Mahalo to Jeff and Lisa for coordinating this event.

Pictured from left to right: Lisa Miura, Mara Smith, Sarah Allen, Jeff Dansdill, Carey Ann Sasaki and Owen Kano worked together to bring a training session to Hilo. Mahalo to Jeff and Lisa for coordinating this event.

Surplus Online Auction Featured on KHON2 News 

Mahalo to Marisa Yamane of KHON2 for featuring the Surplus Online Auction on its newscast on July 12, 2016.  That story gave a great boost to and created more awareness about the auction site, which sells off small items recovered from local airports in partnership with the Transportation Security Administration.  The money raised from the weekly auction helps fund the Surplus Property Office for salaries, accounting, and other expenses, since the office is self-sufficient.

The story can be viewed on the KHON2 website: Items confiscated at Hawaii airports now up for sale.


SPO’s Top Procurement Initiatives

The State Procurement Office (SPO) recognizes the need to improve Procurement across the State. There are four major areas, which if focused on, will greatly aid the success of procurements in cost savings, improved efficiencies and innovation.

What and how the state purchases has great impact on our economy. We need to make the most of what we have. For Hawaii to catch up we need training and development of our procurement workforce for all state agencies and departments. We also need to be an incubator of Acquisition innovation and leverage these cutting-edge ideas to enhance the overall business environment and economic growth of Hawaii.

Click here to read more about the SPO Strategic Plan.

Cost & Pricing Case Study & Training
A Case Study on the Cost/Price Analysis of Voting Equipment and Election Services

Mahalo to all who attended the Cost & Pricing Case Study and Training on Friday, May 13, 2016.  The SPO is also grateful to Nancy Evans Tudor, CPA, for sharing her knowledge and experience on reviewing the award of a contract for voting equipment and election services in 2008.  A video will be made available as an on-demand training this summer.
This training covered:
  • Overview of analyzing a proposal Tools on how to determine if a proposal price is fair and reasonable
  • Different types of comparatives
  • Analysis of historical costs, prior invoices, the current market, and other data
  • Past Experience of Proposal Analysis
  • Questions & Answers

Presented by Nancy Tudor, CPA
Managing Member, Tudor Wilson & Associates CPAs, LLC
Former IRS Auditor, Small Business Administration Accountant Advocate Hawaii 1998, and Provider of Taxation Services


SPO Administrator to Provide Procurement Update 

To learn about the latest procurement developments, please join SPO Administrator Sarah Allen for a  on Tuesday, November 17, 2 to 3:30 pm in Room 423 of the Hawaii State Capitol.  This is open to government contractors, legislators, legislative staff, attorneys and community members.  Mahalo to the Hawaii Procurement Institute for organizing this event.


SPO Shares Top Procurement Initiatives

The State Procurement Office (SPO) recognizes the need to improve Procurement across the State. There are four major areas, which if focused on, will greatly aid the success of procurements in cost savings, improved efficiencies and innovation.

What and how the state purchases has great impact on our economy. We need to make the most of what we have. For Hawaii to catch up we need training and development of our procurement workforce for all state agencies and departments. We also need to be an incubator of Acquisition innovation and leverage these cutting-edge ideas to enhance the overall business environment and economic growth of Hawaii.

The SPO recommends four areas of focus in this strategic initiative:
1.Procurement Tools
2.Procurement Workforce
3.Business Development
4.Knowledge Management

Click here to read more about the SPO Strategic Plan.

SPO in the News

Mahalo to the Star-Advertiser for a well-written article, “Tightening the screws”.  The SPO is already at work on developing procurement initiatives and educational programs for procurement staff.

Construction Precluded from Exemption

The SPO wishes to remind all state departments, agencies and jurisdictions that construction is precluded from exemption under Hawaii Revised Statutes 103D-102(b)(4)(L).  For more information, please refer to SPO 15-355.

SPO Responds to pCard News Article

In response to the Star-Advertiser article entitled, “pCard Program: Can’t Say Good Buy,” dated April 8, 2015, the State Procurement Office (SPO) would like to provide the following information concerning the integrity and oversight of the pCard Program.  The initial pCard program contract was awarded by the State Procurement Office in 2002, re-solicited in 2009 and awarded in 2010.

Unlike reported in the article, the pCard is not a procurement method, but rather, an alternate form of payment for authorized purchases only. It does not change the competitive procurement process.  Employees must comply with all procurement rules & policies, including, but not limited to:

  • Hawaii Procurement Code, HRS 103D
  • Hawaii Administrative Rules, HAR3-122.
  • Departmental policies and procedures.
  • State of Hawaii Purchasing Card Program Procedures and Cardholder Agreement

Benefits of the pCard Program to the State & Counties:

The pCard program increases efficiency for the State and Counties by reducing the amount of purchase orders and processing of individual invoices as well as reducing the amount of individual checks to vendors – one monthly check to the financial institution.

The pCard program reduces expenses; savings of $69 (2014) per transaction over the traditional purchase order (FY2004 – 85,907 vs FY2014 – 12,970)

Goods and services are received faster using the pCard program, and it significantly reduces late payment fees (interest charges assessed if payment made after 30 days)

Rebates are received based on the State’s net purchasing volume (approx. $7.5 million (cumulative) since 2004).

Benefits of the pCard Program to Businesses

The benefits of the pCard Program to businesses include expedited payment to the vendor from within 30 days versus within 3 days. There is no credit risk to business, improved business cash flow and the program reduces costs by eliminating invoicing, accounts received, and deposits.

Protections found in pCard Contract and Program Structure:

The pCard program was designed with various elements of protection and accountability.  All pCards are issued with an authorized employee name and photograph imbedded onto the card.  This is important to minimize identify theft and maximize accountability.  Questionable transactions can be traced to a specific employee to verify purchases made for official government purpose.   This sole element provides great protection to the State because, if any impropriety is found, the person named on the card may be held legally and personally responsible for that transaction.  Absent outright theft of the card, under this program, it is always very clear who is responsible for making the purchase.  Additionally with individual named cards, the State can take advantage of MasterCard Zero Liability Protection Plan and First Hawaiian Banks zero liability policy, which protects the State from fraud and misuse (subject to program terms & conditions).

Another protection found in the program consists of state-wide merchant category blocks.  The following are a few, of the many, categories that are part of the standard statewide blocks:  food, restaurants, gasoline, hotel, cash withdrawals, entertainment, and personal services. The statewide blocks apply to every card issued.  These blocks are imbedded onto the cards by the bank and can only be unblocked by the bank.  Only the Chief Procurement Office and the department/jurisdiction pCard Administrator can approve a request to unblock any of the pre-established blocks. The bank requires written confirmation of any approved request before a code is unblocked. So, the protections of the mandatory blocks are supplemented with a procedure that provides a clear audit trail of accountability of who requested a certain code be unblocked along with the responsible official who approved and requested the bank to unblock the code.

Various other controls are available to all departments/jurisdictions.  Velocity limits control the number of transactions which can be within a specific period of time.  A cardholder may be limited to making a maximum number of transactions per day, week, month, or within a billing cycle. Dollar limits per transaction limits how much can be spent at one time per transaction (can vary by merchant) and sets limits on the amount that can be spent in a specific period of time ranging from daily to monthly.   pCard Administrators have access to cardholder’s transactions 24/7 to for unusual activity.

Contrary to the audit conducted in 2010, as mentioned in the article, SPO has not taken a “largely hands-off approach as Administrator.”  To ensure the integrity of the program, SPO has required that each department utilizing the pCard program designate a “pCard Administrator” charged with maintenance, administration, and monitoring of the cards used in their department.  To support the pCard Administrators, SPO has created policy manuals, on-demand training, continued policy guidance and on-call support. SPO has the responsibility to provide all the information necessary for departments and jurisdictions to conduct pCard activities to best meet its operational needs. SPO does not dictate departmental or jurisdictional policies and procedures, and does not interfere with their operation and management control or their resources.  Departments and jurisdictions know best what controls and processes are appropriate to meet their needs within its available resources; and responsible and accountable for every expenditures and pCard transaction.

In the interest of accessibility and transparency all of these documents and trainings can be found at the SPO website available to employees and the general public.  It must be noted that in response to the 2010 audit of the pCard program the SPO provided an eighteen-page response to that report in which the SPO talks to this program working successfully despite the constraints in resources.

SPO Reminds State Employees and Contractors about Ethics

The SPO (SPO) reminds State/County employees and all contractors/vendors doing business with the government about ethics.


For all State/County Employees who are part of procurement, Hawaii Revised Statutes §103D-101 states:

All public employees shall conduct and participate in public procurement in an ethical manner.  In conducting and participating in procurement, public employees shall

(1)     Act as a fiduciary and trustee of public moneys;

(2)     Remain independent from any actual or prospective bidder, offeror, contractor, or business;

(3)     Act only in the public interest;

(4)     Abide by the statutes and administrative rules relating to public procurement;

(5)     Identify and maximize efficiencies in the public procurement process;

(6)     Encourage economic competition

(7)     Avoid the appearance of unethical behavior;

(8)     Avoid social interactions with any actual or prospective bidders during the procurement process;

(9)     Maintain confidentiality to ensure a fair procurement process;

(10)  Remain impartial in dealings with any actual or prospective bidders; and

(11)  Identify and eliminate any conflicts of interest.

Please print Ethics Reminder for State Employees for posting.


A friendly reminder for contractors and vendors

Hawaii Revised Statutes §103D-101 states:

Any vendor taking part in the conduct of public procurement shall act in good faith to practice purchasing ethics and display business integrity. This includes:

(1) Avoiding the intent and appearance of unethical behavior or business practices;

(2) Refraining from any activity that would create the appearance of impropriety or conflicts of personal interest and the interests of the State or counties;

(3) Identifying and eliminating any conflicts of interest; and,

(4) Ensuring that all persons are afforded an equal opportunity to compete in a fair and open environment.

Please print Ethics Reminder for Contractors for posting.

SPO Presents “Study on Past Performance Consideration in Hawaii Contracting” and Legislative Initiatives

The State Procurement Office (SPO) submitted its Study on Past Performance Consideration in Hawaii Contracting, with its Appendices, in response to House Concurrent Resolution 176 (SLH 2014), to the State Legislature.   We are grateful to all who participated in this past performance study in 2014. Without this participation, this report would not have been able to capture the many issues and opportunities on past performance in Hawaii government contracting.

The SPO also submitted three legislative initiatives.

A Bill for An Act Relating to Procurement of Professional Services authorizes the Procurement Policy Board (PPB) to adopt administrative rules to provide an effective procurement process when a review committee receives less than three qualified submittals to provide professional services under specific selection criteria. Procurement officers will be authorized to proceed with an alternative method of procurement with less than three qualified persons.

This is a result of the Hawaii Supreme Court decision in Asato v. Procurement Policy Board (2014), which invalidated HAR §3-122-66.  The Court found that there was legislative intent to require a “minimum of three persons” to respond to a solicitation for procurement of professional services under HRS §103D-304.

In October 2014, the PPB voted to repeal HAR §3-122-66 through interim rules pursuant to HRS §103D-202.

A Bill for An Act Relating to Responsibility under the State Procurement Code increases accountability and transparency in state procurement by clarifying that past performance is part of responsibility determination and a procurement officer must consider relevant and recent contractor past performance prior to an award for any state contract.

This also provides a legislative mandate for the PPB to adopt administrative rules to implement past performance accountability measurements and clarify appropriate applications of past performance information.

A Bill for An Act Relating to Communications during Procurement addresses the problem of offerors being left out of the pool of potential awardees because of situations such as an apparent clerical error or unclear relevancy of information provided by an offeror, which currently prevents the offeror from progressing into the pool of responsible offerors eligible to proceed with “discussions.”

The SPO prepared a Legislative Brief as a summary of its proposals presented to the 2015 State Legislature.  The SPO looks forward to working with the State Legislature on these initiatives.

Governor Presents “Team of the Year” Award to SPO’s HIePRO Team

DAGS’ HIePRO Team of Mara Smith, Bonnie Kahakui and Stacey Kauleinamoku, was named State Team of the Year on Friday, October 3, 2014. To increase the level of transparency through which the state procures goods and services, the team developed the State of Hawaii eProcurement system for issuing solicitations, receiving responses and issuing notices of award. As of April 2014, 156 procurements had been awarded on HIePRO, totaling more than $8.6 million, with an estimated cost savings of more than $1.3 million.

 “These individuals have selflessly given of themselves to enrich the lives of those they serve,” Gov. Abercrombie added. “Their accomplishments perpetuate the aloha spirit and make our state a special place to live and work.”

The Team of the Year, Manager of the Year and Employee of the Year were selected from 51 exceptional individual and group nominees. A volunteer selection committee of five prominent members of the community carefully reviewed nomination packets and rated them according to defined categories. The committee then presented their recommendations for the three awards to Gov. Abercrombie.

Congratulations, Mara, Bonnie and Stacey!



Governor Signs Supplemental Emergency Proclamation in Preparation of Lava Flow Crossing Highway 130

On September 22, 2014, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed a supplemental emergency proclamation to include the repair, restorations, rebuilding, or reestablishment of Chain of Craters Road, for use as an alternate emergency route should the June 27th lava flow cross Highway 130 near Pahoa and isolate communities in lower Puna from the rest of Hawaii County.

“Even though the lava flow appears to have slowed to a halt for the time being, the state and Hawaii County are prepared and moving forward together with contingency plans in the event the lava does progress farther,” Gov. Abercrombie said.

Today’s proclamation, supplemental to the emergency proclamation signed on Sept. 5, also extends the disaster emergency relief period through Dec. 1, 2014.

The original proclamation suspended certain laws as needed for emergency purposes, including state restrictions on reestablishing abandoned roads that may be used should lava cross Highway 130. It also activated the Major Disaster Fund set aside by the state Legislature for disaster relief and facilitates access to emergency resources at the state and federal levels.

Residents are also encouraged to enroll in local notification systems and monitor local radio and television broadcasts.


DAGS Selects Employee and Team of the Year from SPO

The Department of Accounting and General Services selected staff from the State Procurement Office as awardees for the Team and Employee of the Year. The HIePRO Team, lead by Mara Smith, Bonnie Kahakui and Stacey Kauleinamoku, was named Team of the Year, and Ronnie Correa was named Employee of the Year.  The awards were presented by Comptroller, Dean Seki, and Governor’s Chief of Staff, Bruce Coppa, during a ceremony on Wednesday, September 10, 2014, in the State Capitol Auditorium.  Mr. Seki also presented the Comptroller’s Perpetual Trophy for the Team of the Year and the Comptroller’s Perpetual Trophy for the Employee of the Year to Sarah Allen, Administrator of the SPO.

The Team of the Year planned, developed and executed HIePRO, the State of Hawaii eProcurement system that issues solicitations, receives responses, and issues notices of award. Beginning January 2014, new procurements were issued in HIePRO and since then, 183 procurements were awarded totaling over $9.9 million with an estimated cost savings of over $1.4 million.  In addition to Mara, Bonnie and Stacey, SPO staffers Ronnie Correa, Wendy Ebisui, Corinne Higa, Andrew Lum, Stan Mato, Michael Ong, Kevin Takaesu, Donna Tsuruda-Kashiwabara, and Carey Sasaki contributed their expertise to the monumental project.  The commitment and professionalism of the HIePRO team to set, and at times re-evaluate, project priorities and ultimately provide a creative and innovative solution earned DAGS’ Team of the Year Award.

Ronnie Correa, Secretary III, was presented the DAGS Employee of the Year Award. Ronnie, who has been with the SPO for the past seven years, has a strong passion for her job and is a team player, dependable, trustworthy, honest, sincere, and personable. She continually exceeds expectations and inspires others to do the same.

In her instrumental supporting SPO’s training program, she maintains the statewide training database of over 7,000 attendees, generates quarterly attendance reports, and facilitates webinars by assisting trainers and responding to questions from attendees. Ronnie worked in a dual role as supervising officer manager to the two SPO administration staff, for the SPO team, as well as Executive Assistant to the incoming Procurement Administrator. Her exceptional organizational skills and commitments to excellence enabled both separated offices to work cohesively, in what could have been a very turbulent time for all the SPO staff.  She was the vital element that ensured and continues to ensure a unified SPO team.  Her natural exuberance, and general caring and interest for each member of the team, has developed an environment of safety and ‘ohana in the SPO office.  A strong leader and superb follower, she exemplifies the best in the SPO staff.

Congratulations to Mara, Bonnie, Stacey and Ronnie for the outstanding work that they have done for the people of Hawaii!

SPO’s HIePRO Team of Stacey Kauleinamoku, Mara Smith and Bonnie Kahakui (from left to right) was named 2014 Team of the Year by the Department of Accounting and General Services. Gov. Neil Abercrombie also named HIePRO Team of the Year of the State of Hawaii at a special awards ceremony on October 3, 2014.

Ronnie Correa was named 2014 Employee of the Year for the Department of Accounting and General Service.

SPO Pueo Award Presented to DCCA Staff for Best Practices

Across the world, the owl serves as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. Pueo, the Hawaiian Owl has a special place in Hawaii’s mythology. Pueos were silently sailing over the Hawaiian Islands well before the arrival of the first Polynesians. This bird of wisdom is known for offering guidance and protection.

The SPO recognizes state employees who are guardians of procurement with its Pueo Award.  The Pueo Award was presented to Jacqueline Choy and Brent Suyama of the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs for Best Practices in Procurement on September 5, 2014, at DCCA’s Annual Incentive and Awards Ceremony.  Jacqueline and Brent were recognized for their due diligence and exemplary documentation in justifying a request for exemption from HRS Chapter 103D in awarding a contract to National Theatre for Children. These Procurement Specialists conducted in-depth market research and cost and pricing analysis that was exceptionally crafted and meaningful. This team understands the vital importance of procurement planning which includes researching what is available in the current market and analyzing what a competitive price should be for the service – essentially safeguarding taxpayer money!

Any acquisition, whether it is exempt or not, must have adequate strategic planning to assure a successful, competitively priced contract.

Well done, Jacqueline and Brent, and thank you Director Keali’i Lopez for your graciousness in allowing us to present at DCCA’s Award Ceremony!

SPO Presents Jacqueline Choy and Brent Suyama of DCCA with the Pueo Award on September 5, 2014.

SPO Presents Jacqueline Choy and Brent Suyama of DCCA with the Pueo Award on September 5, 2014.

Compliance & Ethics Essentials Covered at HPI Summer Procurement Series

More than 45 attendees participated in the half-day workshop on Compliance & Ethics Essentials of the Summer Procurement Series.  The workshop was coordinated and moderated by event chair Cori Lau, Esq., (pictured in photo on the right), and featured speakers SPO Administrator Sarah Allen (pictured in photo on the left), Michael Matsumoto, Jessica Wong and Mihoko Ito.  The third in the series of workshops on Protests: Legal Update will be held on Friday, July 25, and will be chaired by Randy Whatoff.

HPI 20140627 Compliance Workshop Allen and Lau photo


SPO Administrator Speaks at NCMA Aloha Chapter Training

SPO Administrator Sarah Allen spoke to about 30 Acquisition Professionals at the Aloha Chapter of the National Contract Management Association’s May 15, 2014, meeting about the importance of good leadership and elevating the procurement profession.  She shared her thoughts on valuable tips cited in the article, “Secrets of Superstar Contracting Professionals,” found the May 2014 issue of NCMA’s magazine, Contract Management.  Click here for the complete article: 2014_0515 NCMA Training

2014_05 DOE at NCMA Training


Hawaii Procurement Institute Legislative Update

While different organizations disagreed on how to improve or fix state procurement laws, they all agreed that contractors, procurement professionals, lawmakers and the State Procurement Office (SPO) should convene and have proactive discussions on procurement issues before the start of the next legislative session. This was the common message shared by speakers at the 2014 Legislative Update sponsored by the Hawaii Procurement Institute (HPI) on April 30, 2014.  The audience of more than 20 from both the public and private sectors was a good indication that the issue of procurement was of great importance and interest.  Click here for the complete article: 2014 HPI Legislative Update