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When I See a Request for Proposals that is So Poorly Written or Fails To Attract Qualified Applicants Three Thoughts Come to Mind:
1) Either the writer has no idea what s/he’s doing and hasn’t a clue how to write an RFP.
(But what about the business manager the district is paying, shouldn’t she know how to write an effective RFP?)
2) The writer has no intention of attracting qualified applicants and is simply complicating the application process to discourage qualified applicants.
3) Both 1) and 2).
Something I’d Expect to Find in the RCS Concessions RFP!
We’ve Received A Copy of A Reader’s Message to the entire RCS board of education and to both the RCS Superintendent of Schools Elizabeth “Betsy” Smith and the RCS CSD business manager, Ms Diane Malecki. Rather than discuss it, it’s actually worth publishing in its entirety. The reader says it all:
I am forwarding this message to all members of the board with the exception of Howard “Bray” Engel,Edward “Teddy” Reville, and Judy Sylvester, whose e-mail links do not work on the RCS CSD BoE webpage.
I have read through the RFP that is available from the RCS CSD website and find it to be a completely substandard document in terms of clarity, composition, wording, pitiful grammar, incorrect terms, vagueness and ambiguousness, and general content.
The author appears not to have any knowledge of the purpose and intent of an RFP nor the difference between an RFP and a contract.
The document is entirely an amateurish embarassment to the district and anyone who had a hand in its drawing!
Quite frankly, the fact that it was released on or about August 9, 2012, and requires receipt of proposals by an express deadline of August 16, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. is absoulutely unrealistic by any standard! Notwithstanding the delays in mailing and returning the proposal by the bidder, the materials could not possibly be properly read and digested, not to mention discussed and questions formulated, in that time. It is ridiculous to expect that all of the required documentation could be assembled and submitted in that short period.
The general impression made by the document is that it was ostensibly drawn in haste, and with an with an express purpose of discouraging or rendering impossible any good faith response by any conscientious bidder. I also question whether this was in fact the sole intention of this RFP in order to satisfy one sector of the community while favoring another. This question will likely be brought up at the next BoE meeting.
Another troubling aspect of the release of this RFP document is the obvious fact that it was not written by a competent writer and quite clearly was not reviewed by a competent reviewer, much less by a competent business administrator or legal professional or paraprofessional. That fact notwithstanding, it is a gross violation of protocol and of the prerogatives of the board of edcuation that the document was written and released without apparently consulting the BoE. It is my understanding that the BoE should have reviewed the document before its release to the public and, further, that the BoE had final approval or rejection authority over the document. It seems that that protocol was egregiously and perhaps speciously abused and violated. That is another question that will likely be addressed to Mme Superintendent at the next BoE meeting.
Under no circumstances should this call for public bids be considered licit or even legal under the circumstances, and the entire process should be declared null and void, and the RFP recalled until it can be properly done.
I am attaching a copy of the RFP that I reviewed. I have included comments in the first 6 pages of the document but the overall quality of the writing and of the document content was so abominable that a thorough or complete commentary on it would have been prohibitive in terms of time and effort. The comments I have made in the first 6 pages are generally characteristic for the rest of the document, however.
Should you have any questions regarding this communication, I shall be more than happy to address them on request.
One final note: I have communicated on at least two occasions with Mme Superintendant Elizabeth Smith with specific requests and questions. The lead time for her responses is unacceptable. I have not received a single response yet to two previous inquiries.
[Name Withheld by Request]
So what’s the reason you put out such a piece of garbage, Ms Betsy Smith. Is it that you cant write an effective Request for Proposals, or is it more accurate that you intentionally made the process so unwieldy, so complicated, and so burdensome specifically to discourage local businesses from applying. That sounds more like an RCS tactic, doesn’t it. Make it so complicated and burdensome or expensive an no outside buinesses will apply. Then you won’t get any flack whey you simply say no one applied and so now we have to give the concessions to the “new” RCS Athletic Association. Right? Is that it, Betsy?
Another reader raises the interesting question of why it would be necessary for a local business to surrender anything to the District. After all, the local business is paying considerable amounts of tax to the benefit of the District and town, is providing a needed and desirable service for the spectators of sports (note: not “sporting”) and athletics events, in virtue of the bidding process are the best value for the money, and in contrast with the RCS Sports Association, are legal and authentic. And on top of that the District wants a cut of the gross proceeds from the concession. Give us all a break and dispense with the greed, Missy!
And are we correct in assuming that the “new” RCS Sports/Athletics Association will be held to the same standards as any other bidder? One would reasonably expect so, of course. And that their documents will be available for public inspection.
Note also, that this doesn’t let the “old” RCS Sports/Athletics Association off the hook, does it? Or does it, Mme Superintendant? That investigation should be and is ongoing, we would reasonably expect.
Well, we’ve seen through the trickery and it wasn’t hard at all to do. Are we paying more than $140,000 a year for an amateur? No, two amateurs: the Superintendant and the RCS district school business manager (Diane Malecki)! How much taxpayer money does that add up to?
We agree with the recommendation made by the reader: The present RPF is a sham and must be recalled without prejudice, and be reviewed by competent individuals, submitted to the board of education for review, comment, and ultimate approval, and then, ONLY then, be released to the public in a form that is clear, unambiguous, correct, and which makes it possible to respond professionally and in good faith.
Cup Seen on
Superintendent Smith’s Desk.
Ms Smith, Ms Malecki: You both should be embarassed, chagrined and personally shamed for allowing such a piece of rubbish to have gone out to the public in the first place. We shall discuss the technical apects in an upcoming article which we recommend you read and study for your own benefit. We shall be examining the possible motivations and purposes in sending out the RFP in it’s shameful form in yet another article.
Is this in the budget?
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