At the meeting, Board of Education member Phil Kauffman asked the following question,
"What process do we go through to ensure that this is actually the best way of acquiring these services, as compared to doing an RFP* or other acquisition vehicles, how do we know we are getting the best terms with this vehicle as opposed to other vehicles?"This was a good question. I have made multiple Maryland Public Information Act Requests for the MEEC contracts but those requests have yielded no documentation from MCPS that these contracts even exist or that they are used for MCPS procurements.
The full response from MCPS Chief Technology Officer Sherwin Collette is shown in the video below. In that video you will hear Mr. Collette say:
...There is an expectation based on the volume of business that we do that we see some fairly specific cost savings...
...There is a bit of a misnomer, I must say in thinking, that when you do a RFP* that you naturally end up with the best price...
Apparently, Mr. Collette differs with Maryland State law that states a preference for Competitive Sealed Bidding in procurements over $25,000. You will also hear Mr. Collette explain that in fact, the MEEC contract does not obtain bids that are used to make purchases, rather MCPS negotiates directly with the vendor to obtain a price.
The explanation of the Board vote on July 14th that was given to Board of Education members on the Agenda, and in the summary provided by Superintendent Weast, does not align with the information given by the MCPS Chief Technology Officer, Mr. Collette. Both the Agenda and Superintendent Weast's summary refer to the "extension of bids". According to Mr. Collette, competitive bids are not used to make these MCPS purchases but instead, MCPS negotiates directly with one vendor.
Hear the MCPS Chief Technology Officer's full answer to Boardmember Phil Kauffman's question in the video below.
* RFP stands for Request for Proposal