The Buyers Network

Diane Holley, Editor

The Buyers Network is Published Monthly by the Purchasing Division of the West
Virginia Department of Administration to Promote Better Value in Public Purchasing

Welcome to the August 2000 Issue of the The Buyers Network!

Articles in this Issue:

Set your Aim on the Upcoming Agency Purchasing Conference

Questions Relating to Travel can be found electronically on our website.

Director's Comments: Importance of Clear, Concise Specifications

Sufficient time needed for Bulletin Information

Gas Prices Soaring

Recognizing Excellence in Performance

Meet our Buying Staff... Charlyn Miller

Updated Hotel Listing Available on Website

How Specifications Live On

What's State Government Buying?

Public Auction

Nuts & Bolts

Money Wise... tips for the thrifty

Vendor Spotlight... Chenoweth Ford

Current Statewide Contract Update

Questions?...Just Ask Us!

Hit the Bull's Eye!...

Set Your Aim on the Upcoming Agency Purchasing Conference Scheduled for October 16-19, 2000

With a theme of "Staying on Target with WV Purchasing Division," the goal of this year's Agency Purchasing Conference is to offer the information and guidance necessary for state agency representatives to "hit the bulls' eye" in terms of efficiency, accuracy and creativity.

The conference will be held on October 16-19, 2000, at Canaan Valley State Resort and Conference Center.

Individuals who often attend the Purchasing Division's annual training conference juggle a variety of responsibilities. Not only do many of them handle purchasing goods and services for their agencies, but they may also oversee fleet vehicles, employee travel or their agency's physical inventory.

The information to be offered at the 2000 Agency Purchasing Conference will benefit those individuals wearing that stack of hats as well as those who solely handle purchasing or one of the other programs which the Purchasing Division administers.

Although the workshop schedule has not yet been finalized, the topics will include small and high dollar purchases, travel management, fleet management, Surplus Property Program, purchase order encumbrance, contract management, the division's website as well as several other issues which are of critical importance to state agency personnel. In addition, the Purchasing Division is planning a new game show workshop, which will offer valuable information in a fun, interactive format. At past conferences, we have offered Purchasing Jeopardy and Agency Feud. This year we hope to continue our successful trend.

Registration will begin early next month. Agency procurement officers will be mailed conference packets; however, if you would like to request a copy to be sent directly to you, please send your request via electronic mail to Diane Holley (, Debbie Watkins (, or Kelli Doyle ( or call the Purchasing Division at 1-800-BIDS2WV, extension 249

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Questions Relating to Travel Can Be
Found Electronically on Our Website

Do you have a question about state travel? You are only a few key strokes away from your answer!

The State Travel Regulations offer valuable guidance to state employees who are required to perform business travel. Although each agency has a designated travel coordinator who can offer information to their employees, there is another alternative...accessing the information yourself at www.state.

The regulations detail procedures on transportation, lodging, meals, registration fees, and other expenses.

For example, did you know...

w Collision damage insurance for automobile rentals of seven days or less are reimburseable, and should be taken, unless the rental has been made using the Diners Club card, which provides this coverage at no cost for rentals up to 60 days.

w Privately-owned vehicles may be used when traveling on state business. Reimbursement will be made at the prevailing rate per mile established by Travel Management, excluding normal daily commuting mileage, for actual miles traveled using the shortest practicable route to the point of arrival at the traveler's destination.

Learn more about state travel procedures by clicking onto our website!

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The Director's Comments
                                       Importance of Clear, Concise Specifications

By Dave Tincher
State Purchasing Director

Purchasing Director Dave TincherOne of the most important tasks public purchasers perform is properly preparing specifications. All too often, this is the weakest part of the purchaser's effort.

Most problems that occur during the purchasing process can be directly attributed to poorly prepared specifications. If specifications are the foundation of the entire process, why do we continue to see so many ill-prepared specs?

The main reason is that little attention is given to establishing basic needs in relation to availability of products and services to meet those actual needs. Too often, brand names and model numbers, without any reference to only necessary features and functions, is all that is indicated on a requisition. By the same token, only a cursory description of required performances will be indicated.

When important details are omitted, well-meaning vendors submit quotations or proposals as to what is assumed is required only to later learn that more or less was actually intended. This is when problems begin with evaluation, award or even actual performance.

To overcome this tendency to prepare inadequate specifications, take the time to plan and research your actual needs. Spell out only the required functions and features. Determine if more than one source can meet those requirements and do not make the mistake of gathering information from only one known source and coupling that one availability to a given situation. Not all features and functions of a known product or service may be actually required.

In preparing specifications, it is necessary to set levels of quality. It is not permissible to "lock in" or favor products or services that may be preferred for whatever reasons to meet your needs.

As public purchasers, we have a legal responsibility to foster competitive bidding procedures and practices, as mandated by the West Virginia State Code. Good specifications yield good competitive bidding. It benefits you as a public purchaser in that you obtain products and services that produce greater value, the right price, and the right quality from the right source.

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Sufficient time needed for Bulletin Information

Put it in writing! That is a request most often heard from state purchasers. Once in writing, the information appears more formal, responsive and legitimate.

Using the same rational, when requisitions are included in the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin, vendors expect this information to be current and accurate.

For this reason, it is important for agency representatives to understand that requisitions must be reviewed for accuracy and completeness by the buying staff before information can be "put in writing" and included in the Bulletin.

The Purchasing Division has occasionally experienced situations which agency representatives were disappointed that their requisitions they hand-carried to the Purchasing Division cannot appear in the issue being prepared that day.

When requisitions arrive at the Purchasing Division, the appropriate buyer must review the document completely, establish a bid opening date and check other aspects of the request for quotation is published and released.

For a listing of West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin tentative cut-off dates, access the online January 2000 issue of The Buyers Network ( The next publication date is also listed on the bottom of the online issue of the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin, accessible on the state's Intranet. All dates are subject to change.

Remember...once the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin is in print, it is perceived by our registered paid vendors as "accurate and legitimate," a track record which we strive to maintain.

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With Gas Prices Soaring...We Have to Ask "Why?"

By Meghan Nutter
Communications Intern

Gas prices are too high...which is a simple observation. But do you know why? There are several factors that effect the prices of gasoline and it seems that many of them are coming into play this summer.

The major problem is that crude oil production has been cut back. Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised the price per barrel from $10 (1998) to $28 (present). In addition, production decreased, creating a greater demand causing prices to rise.

A second factor is the requirement of a cleaner burning fuel by the Environmental Protection Agency. Since the Clean Air Act of 1990, a reformulated gas is required in several major U.S. cities every summer because it creates less fumes and reduces smog. The cleaner fuel would only raise the price a few cents per gallon if it was the sole factor raising the cost. Aside from the implementation of the new formula, a patent dispute has also occurred.

The distribution of gasoline is yet another piece to the puzzle. Truckers who deliver gasoline have to make a profit. As with any other product that companies haul, when the price goes up, so do their costs, which are then passed onto the customer. Pipelines across the U.S. also transport gasoline and several problems have been experienced with breaks, which have delayed shipments.

Demand is high. Sport utility vehicles, which are high-consumption vehicles, have made a noticable increase on the roadways. Combine the low fuel efficiency of many vehicles along with summer vacations, the gasoline demands have skyrocketed and many Americans are used to the convenience of driving rather than car pooling or taking alternative transportation.

Good news is in store! The price of gasoline is expected to drop by October, as the demand begins to decrease. Officials indicate that all of these factors together should have made a small impact on the price; however, even the experts could not have prepared for a jump of nearly a dollar per gallon within a matter of a few months.

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Purchasing Awards Planned for Conference
Recognizing Excellence in Performance

It's a's a's a Purchasing Super Hero!

Because of the hard work and dedication demonstrated, some agency representatives can be confused with super heroes. They can arrive at the last minute and fix problems that may seem unmendable to most others.

In recognizing those individuals that go beyond the call of duty, the Purchasing Division is continuing its annual Agency Procurement Officer of the Year program, with a few modifications to the selection process.

In addition to this recognition program, several members of the Purchasing staff expressed their opinions that there should be another award targeting individuals who excel in other areas, such as fleet, fixed assets, TEAM, Surplus Property and travel. This award, called Purchasing Partner of the Year, will be announced along with the Agency Procurement Officer of the Year at the 2000 Agency Purchasing Conference at Canaan Valley State Resort and Conference Center in October.

The Purchasing Division staff will make nominations which will then be reviewed by a selection committee upon which a consensus decision will be made.

"We are very pleased to continue the Procurement Officer of the Year program, which we believe sets a precedence of recognition for a job well done," said Purchasing Director Dave Tincher. "Due to the positive feedback of this program, we decided to create a separate recognition award for individuals who may not deal directly with procurement, but serve as the agency's liaison to the Purchasing Division for other matters, such as travel, fleet, surplus property, or inventory."

The criteria used for these awards include tenure, performance, communi-cation, internal training, professional development, cost-saving ideas, cooperation with Purchasing and agency staff, and offering a positive image. Purchasing staff and agency repre-sentatives are encouraged to make nominations for both awards.

In the past, recipients of the Agency Procurement Officer of the Year included Edi Barker (BEP); Susie Teel (DHHR); Lt. Col. Jim Powers (State Police); and Jo Miller (DHHR).


Meet our Buying Staff...
                      Charlyn Miller Encourages Better Communication

charlyn.jpg (448474 bytes)Meet Charlyn Miller, our senior buyer responsible for purchasing technology/information processing equipment, communication equipment, office machines, and microfilm/audio visual equipment.

A graduate from Wright State University in Dayton, Charlyn began her career in education, with a reading specialist certification, and worked as a teacher. In 1993, she was hired at the Purchasing Division providing administrative support, but within two years was promoted to a buyer and became a senior buyer in 1997.

An advocate of life-long learning, Charlyn is currently attending WVU Institute of Technology, majoring in computer science. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening and swimming. She is married and has one son.

Charlyn offers a few purchasing tips to assist our agency purchasers:

wWhen needing a vendor to provide specific language in a letter, it is often easier to prepare the letter and have a signature line for the vendor to sign and return to you;

wEncourage end users to always contact their agency procurement officer first rather than the Purchasing Division. This avoids miscommunication and duplica-tion of effort that can occur.

wInclude an original WV-96 if the vendor has any terms and conditions contrary to State law. If the vendor wishes to negotiate the WV-96, include the alternate language with the documents sent to Purchasing

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Updated Hotel Listing Available on Website

The State Travel Management Office recently completed updating its website at The most notable update is the hotel index, which includes more property listings in a user-friendly format.

In addition to the hotel index, state travelers can find many other valuable resources, including travel regulations, travel forms, past issues of the State Travel News publication, federal per diem for meals, link to National Travel's online booking site, and a link to Diner's Club online statement page.

Suggestions and comments regarding this site may be made to Catherine DeMarco, State Travel Coordinator, at Her telephone number is 558-2613.

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How Specifications Live On....

Have you ever wondered why products are made a certain way? In some cases, it all comes down to history ...let's look at an example:

The U.S. standard railroad gauge (distance between the rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches. Why was that odd sized gauge used? Because that is the way they built them in England, and the U.S. railroads were built by English expatriates.

Why did the English people build them like that? Because the first rail lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, which uses the same gauge. The English used the same jigs and tools as the people who built the tramways.

Why did the wagons use that odd wheels pacing? If they tried to use any other spacing, the wagons would break on some of the old, long-distance roads, because that is the spacing of the old wheel ruts.

So...who built these old rutted roads? The first long-distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The roads have been used ever since.

And the ruts? The initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Finally...we have the answer to the original question. The U.S. standard railroad gauge derives from the original specifications for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.

The moral of this story is that specifications can live forever.

- Author Unknown


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What's State Government Buying?

(This information is compiled from the West Virginia Purchasing Bulletin. The purpose is to provide an awareness of the variety of products and services being procured in state government. Only a small sample of solicitations are listed.)

Department of Health and Human Resources
Network Equipment for 30 public health locations throughout the state.

w West Virginia State Police
Video observation/recorder systems for the State Police.

w Statewide Contract - All Agencies
Internet content filtering software.

w Division of Culture and History
Remodel the Cultural Center's Great Hall Gallery and stairwell.

w Division of Environmental Protection
Furnish surveying, geotechnical, hyrological, geological and other services for Landfill Closure Assistance Program.

w Division of Natural Resources
Flood damage repair to Greenbrier River Trail - Section 2.

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Public Auction Notice

Have you attended a Surplus Property public auction recently? The next public auction scheduled by the West Virginia State Agency for Surplus Property is Saturday, August 26. Call 766-2626 for more details or visit its website at!

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Nuts and Bolts

  • NIGP Conference: The National Institute of Governmental Purchas-ing will be offering its 55th Annual Forum and Products Exposition on August 18-23 in Baltimore, MD. For more details, check out its website at

  • Liquor Sales Franchises: Twenty franchises received no bids at an opening for a request for proposal in March. These remaining franchises were rebid on June 23 and although bids were received, six were rejected due to bidding less than the minimum.

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Money Wise... Tips for the Thrifty


Saving Money on Food Shopping

There's no way to get around food costs. But when you shop smart, what you save could add up to a bundle. Here are some strategies to save on your food bill:

  • Plan in advance. Know exactly what you need on a regular basis and buy those products in bulk.

  • Cut back on convenience foods. Don't buy things like packaged salads. You are paying big for a small convenience.

  • Use coupons. If you find that you buy some name-brand foods regularly, then make sure you are clipping the coupons for them. Otherwise, generic foods are comparable in quality and content and often less expensive.

  • Shop at the store that is the cheapest overall. There is sometimes as much as a 10 to 15 percent difference on identical grocery orders at two different stores in the same area.

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Vendor Spotlight
                           Meet our West Virginia Businesses

Each month, The Buyers Network familiarizes our readers with state businesses who have attended our past vendor purchasing conferences. We appreciated their participation in these training events.

Chenoweth Ford of Clarksburg, West Virginia, offers a complete line of Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln cars and Ford trucks. They also service this line of vehicles, including bi-fuel, natural gas, Cummins diesel and Caterpillar diesel.

Mike Flanagan of Chenoweth Ford explains that dealing with West Virginia state government has been a very pleasing experience. "If I have problems understanding something, I have no trouble finding someone who will help me out. And, the old story that the state won't pay is a myth. The check is in the mail and on time."

For more information on the products and services offered by Chenoweth Ford, contact Mike Flanagan at (304) 623-6522 or by e-mail at


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Current Statewide Contract Update

Information and dates (as of July 16, 2000) included in this Current Statewide Contract Update are subject to change. If you need additional information, please contact the appropriate state buyer.

Contracts Awarded

Contract: WATRT
Water Treatment Chemicals

Water Works Industrial Supply
Effective Date:


Contracts to be Bid or Under Evaluation

Contract: DWASH
Dishwashing Materials
Bid Opening:
Under Evaluation:

Contract: DEBT
Debt Collection
Bid Opening:
Under Evaluation
: Yes

Contract: N-Tires
Tires: Auto and Equipment
Bid Opening:
Under Evaluation
: Yes

Contract: OIL
Description: Lubricants and Oil
File: 33
Bid Opening: 06/28/00
Under Evaluation: Yes

Contract: RE-OIL
Re-Refined Oil Products
Bid Opening:
Under Evaluation:

Contract: ENVLOP
Bid Opening: 07/11/00
Under Evaluation:


Contracts to be Renewed

Contract: COPIER
Copy Machines
American Office - Xerox - Arrons Products
Effective Date:


Contracts to be Cancelled

Contract: NEED/SYR
Needles and Syringes
Extension Date:
Status: Waiting on new specifications from DHHR


Contracts to be Reviewed


Bottled Water


Corrugated Pipe

Microfilm Services

Carpet and Rugs

Modular System Furniture

Floor Buffing Pads

Purchasing Division Staff

For questions concerning these contracts listed, please contact the appropriate buyer:

File 21
Charlyn Miller

File 22
Pam Jones

File 31
Evan Williams

File 33
John Johnston

File 41
Ron Price

File 42 
Jim Jackson

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Questions?...Just Ask!

Are you unsure of certain purchasing procedures? ... Do you need to know what printing services Consolidated Publishing Facility provides? ... Do you have a question regarding travel requests? ... Would you want to know what surplus property is available? ... If you need information concerning any function within the Purchasing Division, complete the form below:



E-Mail Address:


Need Information About:


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Thank You for Viewing our August Issue of The Buyers Network