Tuesday, July 29, 2014

City Bid Embroiled in Controversy in New Mexico

The narrow 4-3 vote by the Espanola, NM city council on June 24, 2014 approving the purchase of a new $36,636 truck has created firestorm of controversy.  

Award based on a state cooperative purchasing contract:  The city based the award recommendation to the council on a state-wide cooperative purchasing contract that had earlier solicited local bids, although no specific local bids were solicited for the particular truck in question.  The car dealership that was awarded the contract is not local, but is based in Albuquerque.  

Did the city administration lie?  While the director of the City's General Services Department told the city council that he sought local bids, one council member later discovered that a local car dealer had not been solicited to submit a bid, prompting the council member to call the General Services Department director a liar.  But the department director asserted that local bids had been solicited when the state bid a state-wide contract for trucks, and that the department was basing the award off of the cooperative purchasing contract with the state.

New local bid price lower:  The concerned council member then obtained a bid from a local car dealership that was $500 less than the Albuquerque business, prompting the department director to assert that the council member had shown the local dealership the Albuquerque price, a charge the council member denied.

More information:  Click here to read a more complete news story about this simmering controversy in New Mexico.

Lessons learned:  
  • Transparency:  Be transparent, precise, and clear when making award recommendations to elected officials.
  • Perceptions:  Remember that perceptions matter, especially when it comes to use of local businesses.
  • Civility:  Be professional, civil, and act like adults in discussing procurement issues.
  • Procedures:  Have clear procedures for when cooperative purchasing agreements will be used and for who is authorized to obtain bids.

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com

Monday, July 28, 2014

Job Opening: Purchasing Coordinator

Kitsap Transit (WA)
  • Position: Purchasing Coordinator
  • Location:  Bremerton, Washington
  • Closing Date:  Applications will be reviewed staring August 25, 2014
  • Salary: Starts at $57,907 Annually, commensurate with experience.  Position open until filled.
  • Job Summary:  The person in this position will be responsible for developing and updating a public procurement system that ensures the timely, cost efficient, and legally compliant procurement of supplies, services and materials.  Responsibilities will also include preparing competitive solicitation documents, facilitating the development of written specifications and/or scopes of work, coordinating pre-bid conferences, and coordinating committees for post-bid evaluations and contract awards.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Training in September: Washington Construction Law

21st Annual Washington Construction Law Seminar:  I've attended this seminar in previous years and always found it to be very helpful.  I will be attending again this year.

When:  September 18-19, 2014 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) 

Where:  
Agenda and Speakers:
  • Federal Construction Law - New Developments (Bruce P. Babbitt)
  • Washington State Public Works Competitive Bidding and Bid Protests (Arnold R. Hedeen)
  • Key Clauses of Construction Contracts (Alan Bornstein)
  • Integrated Project Delivery (Scott R. Sleight)
  • Key State Tax Considerations for Construction Projects (George C. Mastrodonato)
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) (Brendan J. Peters)
  • Construction Changes/Differing Site Conditions (John P. Ahlers)
  • What Happens When Someone in the Chain Goes Bankrupt? (Jerry N. Stehlik)
  • Discovery Issues in Construction Claims (Andrew L. Greene)
  • Washington Construction Law - New Developments (Paul R. Cressman, Jr.)
  • Claims Against Design Professionals (Stanton P. Beck)
  • Design Professional Considerations (Blaine J. Weber)
  • Ethical Considerations for Construction Lawyers (John A. Strait)
  • Insurance in the Construction Industry (Todd C. Hayes)
  • Lien and Bond Claims; Dealing with Sureties (Kerry C. Lawrence)
  • Construction Mediation (Henry C. Jameson)
Cost: 
  • $645 - Government employees
  • Other fees for different categories
  • The sponsor of this training, The Seminar Group, will provide my blog readers with a $50 per person discount off of the regular tuition rate.  Call The Seminar Group to register and mention Mike Purdy and the discount code "SPP50." 
Credits:  Approved for continuing education credits with:
  • Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits for Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Alaska
  • Construction Risk & Insurance Specialists by IRMI
  • AIA (American Institute of Architects)
  • American Institute of Constructors
  • Construction Management Association of America
Sponsored by:  The Seminar Group

Information and registration:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Job Opening: Senior Procurement Systems & Business Analyst

Sound Transit
  • Position: Senior Procurement Systems & Business Analyst
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  August 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $59,419 to $74,273 Annually
  • Job Summary:  Under general directions, provides analytical expertise and technical support for enterprise systems and highly complex/specialized technology applications for the Procurement & Contracts Division (PCD).  Provides an overall strategic analysis, troubleshooting, testing, documentation, operation functionality, and services using enterprise and other system applications.  Responsible for creating increased efficiencies of division resources through tracking, automating, and streamlining processes.  Assists in the communication and implementation of PCD system and business initiatives at all levels of the organization.  Analyzes standards and methodologies for improving procurement systems performance, utilization, reporting, and data updates to ensure compliance and data integrity.  Serves as a technical resource to agency procurement systems users and perform special projects, such as spend analysis, as required.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com

Job Opening: Contracts Specialist 3

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES)
  • Position: Contracts Specialist 3 (three position openings)
  • Location:  Olympia, Washington
  • Closing Date:  July 29, 2014 at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $4,114 to $5,395 Monthly
  • Job Summary: Within the Agency Contracts, Consulting, and Oversight (ACCO) unit, this Contract Specialist 3 position will provide professional level of expertise, using mature judgment and expert understanding of procurement and contract laws, policies and best practices, in advising internal and external customers on procurement and contracting for goods and services, including Information Technology (IT).  The ACCO unit, within the Contracts and Legal Services (CLS) division, provides complex competitive procurement and contracting services to both internal and external customers and statutorily required policy oversight and training on procurement and contracting for goods and services on a statewide basis.  Due to the nature of the CLS and ACCO as a center of excellence in procurement and contracting, the skill set of incumbents must be exemplary.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com

Job Opening: Contracts Specialist 2

Washington State Department of Enterprise Services (DES)
  • Position: Contracts Specialist 2
  • Location:  Olympia, Washington
  • Closing Date:  July 28, 2014 at 11:59 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $3,549 to $4,653 Monthly
  • Job Summary:  The Master Contracts & Consulting (MCC) program creates and administers master contracts that have a statewide focus that helps customer agencies meet their mission. MCC has approximately 35 staff divided over three teams. This current recruitment is for a position on Team 1 which serves a wide variety of state and local government; and our primary commodities are medical equipment and supplies, travel related services, office supplies, purchasing card, security, environmental equipment and services, food, personal services, and janitorial services.  Under the legislative authority charged to the Department of Enterprise Services, this position performs expert level statewide contract management of assigned goods and services, with little or no oversight, including exercising signing authority up to $100,000.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com

Monday, July 21, 2014

Former New Orleans Mayor Gets 10 Years in Prison for Contracting Bribery Scandal

Ray Nagin
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, first elected as a reformer vowing to clean up the corruption of city politics, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in a bribery scandal.  Even after the July 9, 2014 sentencing, Nagin maintained his innocence.

More than $200,000 in bribes: Nagin was accused of accepting more than $200,000 in bribes in exchange for providing favorable treatment for companies who received more than $5 million in city contracts.  The bribes included cash, checks, wire transfers, a vacation in Hawaii, first-class airfare to Jamaica, private jet travel and a limousine for New York City, and cellular phone service. 

Culture of corruption:  New Orleans and Louisiana have a well-known and sordid history of political corruption that has landed many former public officials and employees in prison.

Turning the tide:  How can public agencies begin to change the culture and ensure honest government? It obviously starts from the top with elected officials. Here are some quick tips:
  1. Develop and adopt a rigorous ethics policy
  2. Require regular ethics training for elected officials and employees
  3. Require annual public disclosure statements for elected officials and key employees of potential conflicts of interest
  4. Have clear and transparent contracting policies and procedures
  5. Ensure adequate checks and balances on power, especially related to contracting
  6. Adopt a whistleblower policy to protect public employees when they disclose wrong doing
  7. Establish separation of duties so that one employee cannot perform duties in potential conflict with other duties
  8. Have a rigorous internal audit function

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC
http://PublicContracting.blogspot.com