Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Council Report Reveals Complaints about MCPS Procurement Process

On July 29, 2014, the Montgomery County Council released a report from their Office of Legislative Oversight entitled Procurement and Small, Minority, Female, Disabled and Locally-Owned Businesses.  The Council requested this project in order to examine the County’s procurement process, particularly for small and minority, female, disabled, or locally-owned businesses. Appendix F of this report contains comments from businesses. A number of the businesses commented on the MCPS procurement process even though this report is limited to Montgomery County procurement. 

The comments about MCPS are interesting coming on the heels of the MSI Soccer litigation against the Board of Education concerning the procurement process for selecting artificial turf field partners. 

Over the last 8 years the Parents' Coalition has documented a number of these same issues cited by these businesses.  

Will the Montgomery County Council pay any attention to the comments in this report?

  • I have two complaints. Montgomery County based businesses should get priority. Perhaps a 5% advantage. The printing supply bid for MCPS schools should be put out every year and not be rolled over for three years.
  • Montgomery County Schools, college and other agencies that procure institutional style educational furniture, primarily purchase everything from ONLY 1 or 2 vendors. Many local county vendors never get an opportunity to participate. Procurement policy discourages competition. Purchases are almost exclusively made through the state's BRCPC contract or agencies develop their own contracts. Once a contract has been established, it can be renewed for years. The opportunity to bring new vendors or products in is almost impossible. Once a vendor has been awarded a contract, an agency can "standardize" on that product and purchase only it for what ever price the "authorized dealer' selects. Montgomery County should bring back the bid process. It should be the function of procurement to seek out local qualified vendors. Procurement should provide equal access to contracts by not limiting the scope of the specification to favor 1 or 2 vendors. There is no reason to limit the period of time to a small window to place items on a contract. Procurement should go back to using bids and seek out local vendors. There should be either a limit or some oversight to the amount of procurement that can be given to the same vendor.
  • A new bid was created for school pictures and the county didn't have good information for the basis of the process.
  • I am a local MBE/DBE office furniture dealership, living in Montgomery County as well as owning a business located in Montgomery County. My children attended Mont Cty Public Schools. Yet, as both a business and residential taxpayer the majority of the furniture business is awarded to a vendor outside the County. It has been virtually impossible getting assistance that is meaningful.
  • I never see any bids for commercial printing. I know the public schools send a tremendous amount to Virginia, but neglects to keep it in Maryland. I went to Montgomery county schools. A bit surprised Maryland businesses are not valued

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