Readers Respond to Beau Grant’s August Column
Editor’s Note: In the August 2002 issue of Government Procurement, columnist Beau Grant wrote of the necessity for procurement professionals to exercise spending responsibility and require purchasing certification in order to be taken seriously by elected officials and government executives. Following are readers’ responses to Grant’s editorial.
Let me begin by saying I’ve enjoyed your articles and presentations. I share many of your views, even if I can’t express them as eloquently.
While your recitation of woes (Common Sense: “The Truth Hurts,” August 2002) pretty much follows my feelings, we differ on the point of why government agencies aren’t purchasing better. Here is my painful truth. After several years of beating my head against the bricks, I’ve accepted there is some truth behind the old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.
Having said that, I haven’t given up. I’ve pursued advanced education and purchasing certification. I constantly stay abreast of trends in the field. I participate in purchasing organizations. I do everything I can to sweeten that water. I refuse to diminish my contributions or self worth because that old horse refuses to drink. My fervent hope is that if the horse gets thirsty enough, it will eventually drink. I just make sure I keep that bucket full.
I’m sure there are organizations suffering from a drought of purchasing professionals as you describe, but I am also sure that the majority has purchasing professionals begging for the opportunity to demonstrate the value of strategic supply management. These individuals deserve some acknowledgement for the challenge confronting them. It is one thing to influence an organization from a position of authority. It is quite another to try to initiate a change from the bottom up.
So keep those articles coming. Also, toss an occasional “Atta boy” to those of us in the trenches toting over-flowing water buckets.
—Jon Bischetsrieder, Purchasing Agent, City of Santa Clarita, CA
I work in hospital procurement, but what you said translates well across the purchasing field. It was a great article. I’ve passed it on to my colleagues.
—Peter Briggs, Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, Ellsworth, ME
I could actually hear your voice in this article, and I thought it was stirring. You should be proud of this piece. It sings.
We all need to refuse to be a victim. We do what we do because it is the right thing, and we know how to do it right. I respect that others feel they do their own thing for whatever reason. We must persevere because some non-procurement types “get it,” some will “get it” over time, and some won’t ever “get it.”
I do think we are approaching a critical mass of understanding of this profession though. I am excited about the future and how cool it will be when a public purchasing course becomes college creditable. It is amazing to see the development of this profession, to realize that this same path was taken by other professions, yet there is still room in the world for more.
There I go again with the late-night philosophy. Anyway, you did good, Beau, and you sure touched and encouraged a lot of good people with your message.
—Barbara R. Johnson, Procurement Manager, City of Columbus, OH