We have been hammered with snow here in Pittsburgh – 40 inches in about 12 days with no thaw – which has caused all kinds of problems. Actually, I am typing this right now from my home because my roof is leaking in three different places and I am afraid to leave the house.

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The problems with this snow have forced Pittsburgh City Council to declare a state of emergency. I’m not sure what all this means, but according to today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “the declaration…suspends competitive-bidding requirements. It allowed Public Works Director Robert Kaczorowski to hire Wood Waste Recycling and B & R Contractors, which together were expected to deploy around 12 additional pieces of heavy equipment. The goals of those crews and the city’s 50-plus snow-clearing trucks were to widen the drivable portions of main roads, clear snow from areas around schools, remove snow heaps from business districts, clear access to on-street parking areas and get some mounds out of residential neighborhoods.”

So, in other words, the jobs are important, but not so urgent that the supplier selection couldn’t wait a half-day. The roads are driveable and safe. There just needs to be a little cleanup for convenience sake.

OK. Now I understand that you wouldn’t want to do a 3-month sourcing process in a state of emergency. But why do competitive bidding requirements have to be completely waived? Couldn’t the city ask for a few quotes for comparison sake? If Wood Waste Recycling and B & R Contractors are aware that they are hired without having their pricing benchmarked, don’t you think that they are going to charge quite hefty fees?

I think that there can be a happy medium between government-style strict competitive bidding and selecting whatever contractor you want. There should be a quick bid process that isn’t as long or as stringent as a typical bid process, but that at least ensures that the city’s taxpayers aren’t being overly gouged.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to check on those leaks…

To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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