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The goal of Go Pro is to stimulate thought and discussion on significant issues in the profession, to foster collaboration and community, and to encourage creative solutions to common challenges. In that spirit, this issue of Go Pro will present a hypothetical scenario describing a challenge that procurement professionals might face in the course of their careers. If you feel moved to respond — and we hope that you do — we’ll publish your comments in the next issue.
You are the chief procurement officer of a large, urban, Northeastern county that is the lead agency for a joint-proposal-cooperative, IDIQ contract RFP for the installation, maintenance and repair of a broad range of outdoor lighting. Based upon the recommendation of the multi-jurisdictional selection advisory (proposal evaluation) committee, you announce what is in your opinion an outstanding award. It is clear to you that the award will both dramatically lower costs and improve service responsiveness and quality. Several other adjoining localities had consolidated their requirements with yours in the RFP and made a binding commitment to enter into their own contracts with the firm you selected for your county. The contemplated contract has a base period of six years with two options to renew of two years each, and its estimated value is very high. You have included the award of several actual jobs and other measures in the RFP to ensure that the best proposal is selected, and that the pricing and other aspects of performance hold true for the full term of the contract and any renewal periods.
The same firm has held the contracts for this service with your county and other local governments in the region for as long as anyone can remember. That firm, which is based in your county, finishes a distant second out of five proposals in the proposal evaluation process. Historically, the owner of the incumbent firm has done whatever necessary to hold on to the contracts in your region, including buying out any serious, potential competitors as quickly as they pose a threat. The owner is very politically connected and is a leader in the state contractors’ association.
As soon as the owner of the incumbent firm learns of your award decision, she calls you and tells you that you can’t make an award to the firm that you did because the firm is not properly licensed to do business in your state. The awarded firm is headquartered 90 miles away in a neighboring state, but it demonstrated in its proposal that it is properly licensed in your state to do the work required by the contemplated contract. You tell the owner of the incumbent firm that you intend to proceed with the award. However, wanting to be careful, you call the director of the state contractors’ licensing board to ensure that the awarded firm is indeed properly licensed to perform the required work in your state. The director tells you that it is; you breathe a sigh of relief. Three days later, you receive an official letter from the director of the state contractors licensing board telling you that, based upon further review, the awarded firm is not properly licensed to do business in your state.
What do you do?