COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio agency under scrutiny for its awarding of no-bid contracts has been granted permission to use an alternative way of selecting some vendors.

The state Controlling Board approved the Department of Administrative Services’ request Monday exempting the department and other state agencies from competitive selection in certain cases, but with new protections.

The new protocol calls for obtaining at least three price quotes from among 500-plus pre-qualified suppliers. The contract still could be awarded through the unbid process if two or fewer bids are received or only one company can provide the product or service.

The proposal follows scrutiny by state legislators and authorities after a newspaper investigation. The Columbus Dispatch found Administrative Services sometimes ignored internal policy and analysts’ recommendations to questionably award millions in no-bid IT contracts.

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