Administration Commissioner rejects judge’s decision

The state purchased this Steelcase cubicle from Capital Office. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Alaska Administration Commissioner Becky Hultberg is sending a decision on a multi-million-dollar furniture contract back to the judge.

Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Friedman last month told Hultberg her department had violated its own procurement code. He recommended she cancel a Capital Office contract for new cubicles and other fixtures in state office buildings in Juneau, Anchorage, and Nome.

Friedman said the way the Division of General Services issued the contract was substantially different than other state purchasing practices.

In rejecting Friedman’s recommendation, Hultberg says she wants more information on how the contract was different.

General Services is implementing what’s known as Universal Space Standards. State workers will be moved into 6-by-8-foot cubicles with access to other features like telephone booths and small conference rooms.

Four other companies submitted proposals for the contract. A protest by Bowers Office Products led to the administrative hearing against the division.

Friedman also recommended General Services pay Bowers Office Products the costs of preparing its proposal.

The state has already spent more than $1 million on Steelcase furnishings from Capital Office under the new space standards policy.