The goal of Government Procurement 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 Government Procurement presents a hypothetical scenario describing a challenge that procurement professionals might face in the course of their careers.
The following scenario was written by a group of graduate students in the course PADM 731 "Public Sector Procurement Law and Ethics" taught by Dr. Stephen B. Gordon, FNIGP, CPPO during the Fall 2012 Semester at Old Dominion University (ODU). Members of this student group included: Andrea Fischer, Kerry McCrickard, Sandra Roberts, Jennifer Donohue, Whitney Vaughn and Kevin Ramey. Mr. Ramey, who completed the requirements for the MPA degree in 2011, is fulfilling the course requirements to earn ODU's Graduate Certificate in Public Procurement and Contract Management.
If you feel moved to respond to this Procurement Ponderable scenario — and we hope that you do — we'll publish your comments in an upcoming issue of Government Procurement.
You are the chief procurement officer for a medium-sized local government in a highly populated region of a southern, coastal state. The City Manager, who only started work for your entity three months ago, directs you to execute a sole-source, long-term contract for vehicle emissions testing with a firm he has used many times in the past when working as the senior administrator for other entities. You have been on the job for two weeks. You have more than ten years of progressively responsible experience in public procurement level, but this is your first job at the director level.
The City Manager tells you that this firm is far and away the best firm the city could select to administer a vehicle emissions testing program. You serve at the pleasure of the City Manager. Through conversations with your peers in other, nearby local governments, and through research you do on your own, you learn that many firms are capable of performing this service for your entity efficiently, economically, and well; you also learn that the firm "suggested" by the City Manager has a less than stellar record of performance, going back several years.
What do you do?
Government Procurement welcomes your feedback.
Send letters to: [email protected] or Government Procurement, 6151 Powers Ferry Road NW, Suite 200, Atlanta GA 30339, Attn.: Bill Wolpin. We reserve the right to edit all letters for clarity, brevity, grammar, punctuation, syntax and style.