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 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 an upcoming issue of Go Pro.
You are the chief procurement officer of a large metropolitan water and sewer authority. The authority is in the ninth year of a court-ordered overflow abatement program that the court had stipulated on the front end should last no more than 10 years. The goal of the program is to decrease the amount of water that is flowing untreated into the river that runs through your service area. Due to the size, complexity, visibility and dollar value of the program, your authority engaged the services of a large international firm to serve as the contracted program manager through a competitive sealed proposals process. The dollar value of the program is approximately $1 billion, and the funding is coming from federal and state agencies.
The authority, the court and the funding agencies all believe that the contracted program manager has done an excellent job; but they also agree that an additional five years will be needed to achieve the required results of the program. The authority, the court and the funding agencies do not blame the contracted program manager for the need to extend the project completion deadline because, in their shared opinion, the reasons having to take such action are beyond the program manager’s control.
Because the program originally had been expected to last only 10 years, the authority had entered into a contract with the contracted program manager, which provided for an initial (base) term of five years and an option for the authority to extend the term for an additional five years. No additional options for renewal were provided in the contract.
After consulting with the chief executive officer of the authority, you issue a request for proposal for program management services for the additional five years of the project.
The proposal evaluation team short-lists three firms. The firm that has been the authority’s program manager for the past nine years has the lowest score of the three offerors. There is a fairly significant gap between the second-rated firm and the third-rated firm.
Alarmed that the incumbent firm may not receive the award for the new contract, the department head who has worked directly with the firm barges uninvited into the next meeting of the proposal evaluation team and tells his staff members on the team, in no uncertain terms, that they had better ensure that the incumbent comes out on top.
Uncomfortable with what she is being told, one of the team members who works for the department head excuses herself from the meeting and comes directly to your office to let you know what has just happened.
What do you do immediately? What do you do later?
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