Thursday, December 18, 2014

Job Opening: Senior Purchasing Agent

Beaverton (Oregon) School District
  • Position: Senior Purchasing Agent
  • Location:  Beaverton, Oregon
  • Closing Date:  January 9, 2015 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time
  • Starting Date:  ASAP
  • Salary: $47,860.80 to $61,609.60 Annually
  • Job Summary:  The individual in this position will perform difficult and complex technical duties related to the purchase of services, supplies, and equipment in accordance with established policies and regulation.  The Senior Purchasing Agent researches, evaluates, and issues Purchase Orders/Contracts for services, supplies, and equipment based on price, service, quality and warranty to meet the needs of the District.  Writes specifications, prepares bid forms and handles bidding process.  Analyzes bid results and makes recommendations and awards.  Authorizes and signs purchase orders/contracts within authority.  Processes purchase orders and employee expense worksheets.  Reviews forms for completeness, accuracy, and compliance with District policy.  Verifies available funds and appropriateness of budget codes.  Prepares and maintains District contract files.
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Merry Christmas!

In the next three weeks, many of us will take extra time off from work to spend with family and friends as we celebrate this special season.  It's a good practice for us to step back from the immediacy of the routines that engage our lives, and to savor each moment, each interaction, and the beauty of the creation around us.  

Listen to your life:  Life is short and fragile, and Christmas draws us to live our lives in the moment.  May we remember, not just during these special days ahead, but in the year ahead, to hug our loved ones with a stronger embrace, to verbalize our love and appreciation for family and friends, to slow down and smell the flowers, to breath deeply of the fresh air, to look for the things in our lives for which we are thankful (even the little things), and to see our daily challenges from a longer term and eternal perspective.  

3 week break from the blog:  I will be taking a break from writing this blog for the next three weeks, and will be back in early January.  To the many readers of this blog, thank you for your words of encouragement about how the blog has helped you do a better job in public procurement and contracting throughout the year.  I'm glad to try to provide helpful information that will stimulate conversation and result in improved practices.

Merry Christmas:  Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas as you celebrate together.  See you next year!
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Why Designers and Contractors Sometimes Don't Like Design-Build

Design-Build is growing in popularity among public agencies.  It can be a good tool, but depending on how the selection process is structured, it can be problematic and cause unintended consequences for the project, owner, and Design-Builder. 

Price in the selection process:  One of the key issues to decide in developing a Design-Build selection process is how much price be considered.  There are two basic models on this.
  • Limited prices:  In this model, often known as Progressive Design-Build, the owner asks for cost or price-related factors, perhaps the fee (overhead and profit) and general conditions costs.  The construction cost is then negotiated when the design is sufficiently complete.  This avoids requiring the Design-Builder to come up with a complete cost early on when not enough is known about the project.
Steve McNutt
  • Full price:  In this model, the owner asks the competing firms to submit their full price for designing and building the project as part of the selection process.  There are serious challenges associated with this model.  Rather than try to summarize those problems here, I refer you to an excellent, short, and very readable article by Steve McNutt, Principal with NAC Architecture in Spokane, WA that appeared in the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce on October 30, 2014.  Click here to read the article: "D/B competitions: a high-stakes poker game you can't win."
Washington state law:  RCW 39.10.330 was modified in 2014 to permit public agencies to request in the selection process "cost or price-related factors" (Progressive Design-Build), rather than the complete price.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, December 15, 2014

2015 Design-Build Conference in San Antonio

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) will sponsor their annual Design-Build Conference for 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.

Where:  San Antonio, Texas

  • January 26, 2015 "Early Bird" registration deadline
  • Click here for more information and to register.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 IRS Mileage Reimbursement Rate

The IRS has announced an increase in the standard mileage reimbursement rate from 56.0 cents a mile to 57.5.0 cents a mile, effective January 1, 2015.  Click here to read the announcement from the IRS.

Check Invoices and Contracts:  If you're a public agency, make sure you check invoices carefully so that you pay the contractual mileage reimbursement rate you've agreed to, which may be pegged to the IRS rate or may be specified in your contract.  If you're a contractor doing business with the government, review your contract before submitting an invoice so that you submit the correct rate on your invoices.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Register for NIGP Forum 2015 in Kansas City, Missouri

NIGP Forum 2015 - Connecting Procurement Communities 

Where:  Kansas City, Missouri 

When:  August 1 - 5, 2015 

10 reasons to attend:
  • #1 Public Procurement Event of the Year

  • Connect with 950+ colleagues

  • Attend 60+ educational sessions

  • Visit 200+ suppliers at the Products Expo

  • Bring back an infinite number of ideas and solutions that will positively impact your agency and your community

  • Grow your skills through educational workshops & in-depth seminars

  • Face time with the NIGP team

  • Learn from subject matter experts in the procurement field by attending relevant, real-world educational workshops

  • Address key procurement trends and dynamics facing governments today

  • Connect with Procurement Communities
Information and registration:  For more information and to register, click here.  
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, December 8, 2014

Court Rules Bid Preference Law is Unconstitutional

An Arizona court has ruled that a City of Tucson ordinance granting local businesses a 5% bid preference is unconstitutional. 

Unconstitutional:  In response to a lawsuit filed against the program, on November 25, 2014, Pima County Superior Court Judge Gus Aragon struck down the City's ordinance as a violation of the Arizona Constitution (Gifts clause and the Equal Privileges and Immunities clause) and the United States Constitution (Federal Equal Protection clause and the Privileges and Immunities clause). 

Appeal by City?  At their meeting of December 9, 2014, the Tucson City Council will consider whether to file an appeal to the decision, or to modify the ordinance.

Additional information:  
Popularity of bid preference laws:  Many state and local jurisdictions across the county have adopted local bid preference laws.  The ruling in Arizona points out some of the constitutional problems associated with such programs. Click here to read some of the other blogs I've written about local bid preferences.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Louisiana Agency's RFP Selection Practices Still Fall Short of Transparency and Best Practices

After more than two years of maneuvering and input from good government watchdog groups, political leaders in Louisiana took very limited, but ultimately misguided and insufficient steps toward creating a more transparent process for selecting firms based on Requests for Proposals (RFPs).  

2 changes approved:  On August 27, 2014, the Jefferson Parish Council voted to make two changes to its selection practices for non-professional services and non-standard items valued at more than $15,000.  (A parish in Louisiana is like a county.) 
  • Council discretion in overruling selection recommendation:  The new ordinance allows the Council to not award to the highest rated firm as evaluated by the selection committee, if the score of the firm selected is within 10% of the score of the highest rated firm.  Previously, the Council had unlimited discretion in ignoring the scores from the selection committee.  While this change represents a movement in the right direction, it still subjects the selection process to inappropriate political influence, and has the impact of negating the published evaluation criteria, since the Council can choose to override the ratings of a technical evaluation committee.  Elected governing bodies should not be involved in the selection process because of the frequently documented connection between awards and campaign contributions. Instead the role of elected governing bodies should be to approve budgets and allow the executive branch to administer those budgets (see my blog on this subject).
  • Price always worth 25% of evaluation points:  The recently adopted ordinance also increases from 20% to 25% the selection criteria points attributable to price in an RFP.  Establishing a set percentage attributable to price in an ordinance is shortsighted and does not recognize the different types of solicitations that public agencies issue.  If a service is very well defined, price should be a higher percentage, while in other instances, where the scope is less well defined and the qualifications of the firm selected are more important than price, the percentage should be lower, even lower than the 25% now embedded in the Parish’s ordinance.  The Council chose to ignore advice on this issue from the independent Bureau of Governmental Research.
More information:  For more information about this issue in Louisiana, see the following resources: 
  • Ordinance 24815, adopted August 27, 2014 by the Jefferson Parish Council.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Job Opening: Lead Senior Buyer

King County, WA
  • Position: Lead Senior Buyer
  • Location:  Seattle, Washington
  • Closing Date:  December 15, 2014 at 4:30 pm, Pacific Time
  • Salary: $77,209 to $97,864 Annually
  • Job Summary:  The primary duties of this position include: Establishing and administering contracts. Distributing and overseeing workload. Resolving contract and procurement issues. Providing training to staff and customers. Leading business process improvement projects.  Coaching, mentoring, and leading staff to high levels of professional development, productivity and performance.  Participating in performance evaluations.  
  • For More Information and to Apply:  Click here.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

Monday, December 1, 2014

Training: Construction Manager at Risk Projects

An Introduction to Construction Manager at Risk Projects

When:  January 8, 2015 (8:00 am to 5:00 pm) 

Where:  Boise, Idaho (1301 N. Orchard St., Idaho Correctional Industries) 

Instructor:  Mike Purdy 

Cost:  $300 

Background:  In some states, like Idaho, the Construction Manager at Risk process is called CM/GC (Construction Manager/General Contractor).  In other states, it is referred to as GC/CM.  And in still others, it is called Construction Manager at Risk, CM at Risk, CMR, CMAR, or other terms.  This training will focus on best practices for Construction Manager at Risk projects, and examine the provisions of a new Idaho law that actually has very few requirements associated with implementation of the process.  Effective July 1, 2014, public agencies in Idaho are authorized, by a revision to Title 54 Chapter 45, to use the CM/GC project delivery method for public works construction projects. 

Sponsored by:  Idaho Public Purchasing Association

Registration:  Click here.  Must register prior to January 7.

Questions and more information:  Contact Bob Perkins at

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
© 2014 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC