Proposed New Local Law

 

Procurement for Goods and Services

 

(Note: Currently, the Town operates under a Procurement Policy adopted by resolution by the Town Board on September 21, 2010. If the Board approves the new local law, it will have to modify or repeal portions of the Policy.)

 

There'll be a public hearing on the propsoed law Tuesday, June 5, 2012, soon after 7:30 at Town Hall.

 

For a copy of the law, visit yorktownny.org.

 


The proposed law

 

The proposed Procurement For Goods and Services Law weakens the Town’s current procurement policy in three ways.

 

1. It raises the dollar threshold when competitive bidding is required. For goods and services, the threshold is raised to

$20,000 from $10,000, and for public works projects, to $35,000 from $20,000.

 

2. It allows the Town Board to award bids based on the subjective phrase "best value" instead of to "the lowest responsible bidder."

 

3. The Town cedes control over its future bid thresholds to the state: whenever state law changes bid thresholds, the Town's thresholds will change automatically

default to the new state levels.

 


 

Why the proposed law is not in the best interests of Yorktown's homeowners

Raising the dollar threshold for bids

  • It reduces competition. Town departments will only have to get three price quotes for purchases that are under the new bid threshold.  In contrast, depending on the item, a bid request might receive 5-10 responses. More competition almost always means a lower price. Think amazon.com.

  • Bids are publicly advertised and announced; quotes are not. With quotes, there's no way the public knows what the Town is purchasing until after the fact when the purchase is paid for and shows up in the online Expense Ledger Report. There's no opportunity for the public to question whether the department made a good faith effort to get the lowest possible quotes or simply called a carefully selected list of vendors.

  • When written quotes are used, the vendor selection is made by the department head. But since January, some members of the Town Board have gotten involved in the selection process when they felt they had to honor a campaign promise to "shop local." Over a four month period, this has happened at Town Board meetings for at least four purchases.

    When politics mixes with procurement, the taxpayer often becomes the loser.

Awarding bids based on "best value"

  • The proposed law says that the determination of quality and cost efficiency "shall be based on objectively quantified and clearly described and documented criteria …" But how does someone objectively quantify "quality of craftsmanship"?

  • Another criteria is "proximity to the end user if distance or response time is a significant term." There can be no doubt that this "proximity" phrase was put in to justify paying more to "shop local."  Of course it makes sense to use a local plumber when there's an emergency leak, but, barring an emergency, efficiently run departments should be able to anticipate what goods and services they will need in the weeks and months ahead; needing a new toner cartridge should not be considered an emergency. And common sense tells us that anticipated delivery time and cost should always be factored into any price comparison.


What's in YOUR best interest?

It's ironic that one of the major criticisms in the 2010 NYS audit report was that the Town should be doing MORE competitive bidding. But now, instead of strengthening our competitive bidding procedures, the Town Board is proposing to weaken them.

The goal of competitive bidding is to foster honest and fair competition, while at the same time, obtaining the lowest possible price. 

 

Publicly advertised competitive bidding guards against favoritism, cronyism, extravagance and fraud while allowing interested vendors a fair and equal opportunity to compete.       

 

Competitive bidding works. It’s good for taxpayers. So why change the rules?

 

Let's keep the policy we have and make sure it's followed.  Let's not weaken it.

 

Make sure YOUR best interests are protected. Mark your calendar now and be sure to attend the Jnne 5th public hearing and voice your opinion.