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Maryland chooses new contractor for Baltimore child support enforcement

The Board of Public Works voted Wednesday to replace the company that manages child support enforcement in Baltimore even though it submitted the lowest of three bids for a new five-year contract.

The board accepted the Department of Human Services’ decision to award the contract to Veritas HHS LLC of Denver, judging its $39 million offer to be superior to Virginia-based Maximus Inc’s bid of $25 million on technical grounds. Democratic Comptroller Peter Franchot voted no but was overruled by Democratic Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, who was sitting in for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.

Gregory S. James, deputy secretary for operations, said the department’s procurement panel judge Veritas’ proposal to be significantly more innovative than that over Maximus. He said the incumbent company had achieved some of its performance targets while it held the contract, but fell short on others.

James said department officials believe they can collect an additional $22 million in child support payments from noncustodial parents over the next five years under Veritas’ plan.

Veritas came in second in its financial offer, while Young Williams achieved the highest technical rank. But James said Young Williams’ advantage in technical score wasn’t enough to overcome the fact it had the highest bid at $41 million. James said neither losing bidder entered a protest.

Franchot said he opposed the decision because “I find it hard to justify the extra” money.

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