Maggie McConnell is a retired attorney. Her specialty, for which she is nationally known, is in public contract and public procurement law – that is, how governments buy things.
University of Arizona Experience. As a Tucson native, McConnell received both her undergraduate (1971) and law degrees (1976) from the University of Arizona. Her undergraduate degrees were in psychology and political science. McConnell was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Mortar Board during her undergraduate years at the University. She was also elected by the student body to serve as an officer in the Associated Students of the University of Arizona. In 1972, McConnell was selected as one of 20 students from around the country to be awarded a New York City Urban Fellowship.
Work Experience. When she retired in 2018, McConnell was a Senior Associate General Counsel for Business Services for the Maricopa County Community College District, which consists of 10 community colleges and serves 150,000 students in the greater Phoenix area. In her 21 years with the District, she served 20 months as interim general counsel.
From 1984 to 1990, she was an attorney and later a partner in the multi-state law firm of Lewis and Roca (now Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie), with specialties in public contract and construction law. Her prior professional experience was in Washington, D.C., where she worked for the United States General Accounting Office (now the Government Accountability Office) deciding federal bid protests – vendor challenges to awards of federal government contracts.
From 1990 to 1996, she was the administrator of the State of Arizona’s central procurement system. During that time, she participated actively in the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO), an organization consisting of the central procurement administrators of each of the 50 state governments. She is a life member of NASPO and is also a member of NIGP: the Institute for Public Procurement. McConnell was the editor and writer of four versions of NASPO’s flagship book, State & Local Government Procurement: A Practical Guide, completing the most recent edit/rewrite in 2018.
From 1976 to 1980, she served on the staff of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Model Procurement Code for State and Local Governments, assisting in the drafting of a model set of laws for state and local governments to adopt to modernize their procurement systems. McConnell was one of two consultants hired to update that Code in 2000, working with the ABA’s Sections of Public Contract Law and State and Local Government, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
From 1997 to 2001, McConnell wrote a legal column for a national magazine, The Public Purchaser, published by The Congressional Quarterly.
She served as either the sole consultant or as part of a consulting team providing recommendations to reengineer procurement or contracting systems for the Arizona Supreme Court, the California State University system, Pima County, Arizona, and a coalition of nine public colleges and universities in Ohio. As the State of Arizona’s central procurement administrator, McConnell led an internal team assisted by an international consultant to recommend process improvements to the State of Arizona’s procurement system.
McConnell received NASPO’s Distinguished Service Award in 1996. The American Bar Association, Section of Public Contract Law, awarded her the Donald McL. Davidson Award in1996 for achievement in state and local public contract law. Finally, NIGP conferred on her a Distinguished Service Award in 1999.
McConnell currently sits on an advisory board for the University’s Psychology Department. She also works with refugees and on better government issues. In the past, she was active in the American Heart Association, chairing affiliate boards and sitting on its national board. She was also a member of the AHA’s Task Force on Effectiveness and Impact, which examined the vertical structure of the organization as well as the effectiveness and availability of AHA services to key stakeholders. The Task Force’s recommendations resulted in significant changes to the AHA’s structure as well as to the allocation of its resources. McConnell was also the chair of the Arizona State Bar’s Construction Law Section and on the council of the Public Contract Law Section of the American Bar Association.