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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 April 2002 Issue of the The Buyers Network!


Articles in this Issue:

Purchasing Division Benefits from Information Available on New Requisition Tracking System

Unsuccessful Bidders Receive Timely Fax Notification of Contract Award

Director's Comments:
Positive Changes Made to Assist WV Businesses

Vendor Preference Application Clarified

Fleet Management Procedures: What to Do When Problems Occur?

Surplus Property Federal Auction Set

MONEYWISE...Tips for the Thrifty

Heather Connolly Offers Legal Advice to Purchasing

Appointments Necessary...Security Issues Require New Procedures

Brevity is the Soul of Communicating

Planning is the Key: With Increased Time Extensions, Agencies Must Offer Justification

Committee Formed to Write Handbook

4th Annual Vendor Purchasing Conference

Technology on the Horizon: Pre-Bid Meeting Attracts a Variety of Vendors for E-Procurement Project

Karen Byrd Appointed Director of ACA Section

Current Statewide Contract Update

Questions?...Just Ask Us!


Monitoring the Progress of Requisitions
                                         Purchasing Division Benefits from Information
                                         Available on New Requisition Tracking System

How long does it take for a requisition for supplies or services to become a purchase order? The Purchasing Division can tell you exactly how long, what steps were taken and the time it took for each step.

This data is easy to obtain with the recently implemented Requisition Tracking System, a server-based system that tracks each step of the purchasing process.

Soliciting the technical expertise of the Information Services and Communications Division, the Purchasing Division initiated this pilot project with the Department of Health and Human Resources on January 7, 2002. By February 1, entries for all agencies were being made into the system.

"The feedback received from state agencies thus far has been extremely positive," said Purchasing Director Dave Tincher. "We are also using the system to generate contract status reports that are electronically distributed to over 300 recipients in state government. Agency representatives now have the information they need to track their requisitions through the purchasing process." Tincher adds that the Purchasing Division buyers and support staff have been instrumental in the project's success.

As of April 15, 2002, the total number of transactions entered into the Requisition Tracking System was 807. A total of 19 transaction types are being monitored, including agreements, agency contracts, statewide contracts, direct purchases, construction contracts, expressions of interest, requests for proposals, regular purchases, state contract releases and emergency purchases. A specified timeframe goal has been established for each of the transaction types.

The system also distinguishes between purchasing and non-purchasing timeframes in the purchasing process. This determination will be helpful in researching ways to reduce the purchasing cycle and make positive process enhancements.

"The Requisition Tracking System is an excellent example of using technology to its fullest," said Cabinet Secretary of Administration Greg Burton. "By creating definite goals for each transaction type, the Purchasing Division has information at its fingertips and has created benchmarks for future improvements."

The Purchasing Division has solicited request for proposals for a new electronic purchasing system, which will extend the use of technology even further by offering electronic bid submission, downloadable bid packages and creating a more interactive purchasing process.

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Unsuccessful Bidders Receive Timely Fax Notification of Contract Award

The Purchasing Division has begun the practice of faxing and mailing notification letters to unsuccessful bidders simultaneously as the contract is being encumbered and mailed to the successful vendor.

Standard language has been prepared to appear on all requests for quotations to solicit the vendor's fax number. In addition, a letter has been composed which will be addressed to the individual signing the bid and distributed via fax and the U.S. Postal Service the same day that the purchase order is stamped and electronically encumbered. This correspondence will become part of the permanent record on file.

Since vendors have a specified timeframe by which they may protest awards, this new practice will alleviate any concerns of this nature.

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The Director's Comments

Positive Changes Made to Assist West Virginia Vendors

By Dave Tincher
State Purchasing Director

Purchasing Director Dave TincherThe Purchasing Division continues to research ways to assist small West Virginia businesses. In addition to the Resident Vendor Preference, which offers up to 5% preference over non-resident vendors, initiatives have been made to better educate and involve our state businesses in the purchasing process.

Two of our most recent methods have touched upon issues in the bid specifications, primarily related to bonding and subcontractual agreements.

When requesting quotations or proposals for complex, high dollar items, bonds are often required from the company submitting the bid. In many cases, the bonding requirements and the risk involved in attaining the bond are difficult on small businesses. Therefore, for a recent project, standard language was developed allowing the bidder who plans to subcontract part of the work to also rely on such subcontractors to assist in the bonding requirements and alleviate the total risk on the bidder. This is an innovative method to assist small business while maintaining control and assurance of the project.

Another way to assist small businesses in West Virginia is demonstrated with the issuance of the request for proposal for information technical services (ITECH). As part of the evaluation criteria, the Purchasing Division has developed a mentor/protegee program. For additional points on the evaluation (up to 15 points), the vendor would have to establish a mentor/protegee relationship with small in-state vendors whereas the mentor would serve as the prime contractor and would subcontract with small companies located throughout the state to help provide some of the services to be offered under the contract.

To obtain the evaluation points, the vendor must provide the names of the companies who will serve as protegee under this program and a description of the staffing and services they will provide. The vendor is also required to describe what role the protegee company will play in this contract, how the vendor and protegee companies will benefit, and how the vendor will develop and enhance the skills of the West Virginia-based small businesses as a result of this contract. Quarterly reports on the mentoring activities provided by the vendor and the actual services provided by the protegee companies are also required.

I am pleased to be able to share progress in this area with our readers. It is important to build upon the strong economic base that our state has achieved and look in the areas of bringing opportunities to our resident vendors.

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Vendor Preference Application Clarified

A recent clarification from Amy J. Haynie, Assistant General Counsel for the Department of Administration, was made regarding the application of the vendor preference between resident vendors.

According to 110-12C-7 of the West Virginia Code of State Regulations, "Preference shall not be applied as between or among West Virginia vendors, but shall be applied as between or among resident vendor(s) and non-resident vendor(s), and between or among non-resident vendors."

West Virginia Code, 5A-3-37, establishes the requirements that a vendor must meet to be considered a West Virginia resident vendor and explains the requirements a vendor must meet to qualify for a preference.

Haynie explains that it is possible for one West Virginia resident vendor to qualify for a 2.5% preference while another West Virginia resident vendor may qualify for a 5% preference. However, according to WV CSR 110-12C-7, the Purchasing Division would not apply the preference between the two West Virginia resident vendors.

The preference only applies when comparing a West Virginia resident vendor to a non-resident vendor or comparing two non-resident vendors.

For additional information on Resident Vendor Preference procedures, see Section 7.2.71 in the Purchasing Division Policies and Procedures Handbook. Information and examples are offered to assist agency purchasers.

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Fleet Management Procedures: What to Do When Problems Occur?

Participation in the state’s Fleet Management Office assures state employees that if a problem occurs, help is on the way! Vehicles leased through our program are covered by PHH, a nationally known vehicle maintenance company.

If a state vehicle needs maintenance or repair, the driver simply contacts PHH, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free at 800-638-7900, to discuss the need with a PHH certified mechanic.

PHH reviews the vehicle’s history and recommends a facility that best fits its need and the current vehicle location. The driver takes the vehicle to the recommended facility, which, in turn, contacts PHH to review the work requested, the cost and for authorization to perform the work. The driver is responsible for paying the facility with the PHH credit card.

Warranty and recalls are also arranged through PHH by the driver after being contacted by the agency fleet coordinator. The driver is directed to a specified repair facility where the service is completed. There are no charges for recall repairs; however, warranty repairs may be charged to the PHH credit card with reimbursement to the agency.

Roadside assistance is yet another service offered by PHH. In the event of the need for roadside assistance, the vehicle driver is to contact PHH for an assessment of needed services, such as towing, emergency repairs, or locksmith services.

In the event of any collision, the vehicle driver is to follow these steps:

1. Contact the local law enforcement agency where the accident occurred;

2.     Contact PHH for towing and a recommended repair site;

3. Contact the agency fleet coordinator; and,

4. Complete the RMI-1 form within 48 hours of the collision.

The Fleet Management Office offers tips for drivers of leased state vehicles:

  • Familiarize yourself with your assigned vehicle;

  • Drivers are to care for the vehicle as they would their own;

  • Use the state-owned vehicles for business use only;

  • Remember that the public expects the driver to always operate the vehicle in a courteous manner within the limits of the law; and,

  • Travel safely!

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Surplus Property Federal Auction Set

The West Virginia State Agency for Surplus Property, in cooperation with the U.S. General Services Administra-tion, has tentatively scheduled its first-ever federal property public auction at 2700 Charles Avenue in Dunbar for Saturday, June 1, 2002.

"Our agency is pleased to be able to orchestrate such an event in West Virginia," said Surplus Property Ken Frye. "Over the past several years, we have accumulated a large number of items. We are conducting this sale in an attempt to reduce our inventory." More than 350 lots of federal property will be sold, with a total acquisition cost of $2.1 million.

For a general listing of property, visit its website at www.state.wv.us/admin/purchase/surplus or call (304) 766-2626.

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MONEYWISE...Tips for the Thrifty

Is Your Money Insured?

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., investors have lost $114 million over the last three years to bank failures because they went over the FDIC's $100,000-per-depositor insurance limit, or because they deposited their money unknowingly in uninsured banks. Protect against such losses by heeding these safety steps.

$ Double check that your bank is FDIC insured. The agency has an online database of insured institutions at www.fdic.gov/adasp or call 1-877-275-3342.

$ Review the accounts that you and your family have at the bank. Make adjustments to your accounts to make sure they are within the insurance limits.

$ Check your institution's coverage amounts on the EDIE, the agency's electronic deposit insurance estimator at www.fdic.gov/edie.

$ Review your coverage before you open a new account, inherit or win any money, or if you have money at two different banks that end up merging.

Adapted from the Los Angeles Times

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Heather Connolly
Offers Legal Advice to Purchasing

Some of our agency purchasers may remember Heather Connolly, who previously served as assistant general counsel for the Department of Administration. The Purchasing Division is pleased to announce that she is currently working on a temporary basis, handling many legal issues of concern.

In addition to serving as hearing examiners for protests and other formal meetings, she is working on the language of the Agreement Addendum (WV-96), the terms and conditions for the request for quotation and purchase order, rewriting the fleet lease terms and many other legal assignments.

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Appointments Necessary...Security Issues Require New Procedures

Due to a higher level of security precautions throughout the business world, the Purchasing Division is taking proactive steps for the safety of its employees.

As a result, we are requesting agency purchasers to check in at the receptionist area first when visiting our offices at 2019 Washington Street, East in Charles-ton.

Our receptionist will ask for your name and the person with whom you are visiting. The appropriate individual will be called and will come to the reception area to bring you back to his or her office.

In addition to these new procedures, the division asks that you call the person you wish to visit prior to coming to his or her office. When coming to the office without prior notice, the person to whom you may need to see may already have a scheduled appointment or may have a meeting to attend within or outside of our office.

This step is to not only prepare our employees for your visit, but to prevent a visit to our office and the person not be available at that time.

The Purchasing Division appreciates your cooperation and encourages you to contact our office and schedule an appointment with any of our staff. We are happy to serve you!

Purchasing Division Business Hours: 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Monday through Friday)

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4th Annual Vendor Purchasing Conference Schedule Set

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It's not too late for vendors to register for the 4th Annual Vendor Purchasing Conference...Help us spread the word!

May 15-17, 2002
Canaan Valley State Resort and Conference Center

For registration information or for questions, visit the Purchasing Division's website at www.state.wv.us/admin/purchase or contact the conference coordinators, Diane Holley at (304) 558-0661 or Debbie Watkins at (304) 558-3568.

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Brevity is the Soul of Communicating

Are you one of those people for whom conveying information can sometimes turn into the unraveling of a saga?

Here are some tips on how to keep your converations short and sweet, when necessary:

Don’t let irrelevant details slow you down. Get to the point as quickly as possible.

Don’t repeat information. Unless the person with whom you are talking indicates that he or she did not hear what you said, say things only once.

Try not to rehash old news or ideas. If it is not new, then do not use up another person's patience by repeating old ideas or information.

Take a writing class. Such classes help you to make your points with the fewest words possible.

Get rid of non-word spacers. Instead of using non-word spacers, such as um, like, and ya know, pause without saying anything. This will prove to be much more effective.

Bring up information that is relevant to most of the group. Save any questions specific to you or any specialized conversations for later discussion.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Adapted from iVillage.com

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Planning is the Key!
               With Increased Time Extensions, Agencies Must Offer Justification

Change orders require an effective date for submission by the state agencies to the Purchasing Division. This date reflects when the supplier of the products and/or services are responsible for commencement and compliance of the contract.

An unfortunate trend by agencies is to delay this process by as much as six months or more. An even more disturbing occurrence is the lack of sufficient justification for such delays. "Agencies will begin to realize that their change order requests are being sent back for more detailed justification, showing that efforts were being made to expedite this process," said Karen Byrd, director of the Ac-quisitions and Contract Administra-tion Section.

There are many complications that result from undocumented time exten-sions, including the inability for vendors with improperly executed change orders to be paid by the State Auditor’s Office. In addition, authoriz-ing vendors to render services to begin before the completion of a signed purchasing contract is illegal, in accordance with 5A-3-17 of the West Virginia Code.

In a 1999 memorandum from Purchasing Director Dave Tincher, a directive was noted, with support from the Attorney General’s Office and the State Auditor’s Office, that "effective immediately, no contracts, agreements or change orders will be back dated beyond the month in which the document is received in the Purchasing Division."

Byrd  stresses  the  extreme   importance of providing sufficient documentation. "Agencies need to write the justification so that a person completely unaware of the situation could understand why the extension was allowed."

Several steps are being made to assist state agencies in alleviating this problem. Byrd encourages agency procurement officers to create a contract register to better monitor the contracts which the agencies have issued and the expiration dates in order to prepare for either renewing or rebidding the contract. "We are also researching the possibility of providing agencies with a computer-generated report including contract renewal reminders for agency contracts approximately 60 days prior to expiration," she added.

The Purchasing Division wants to work with state agencies in addressing contract time extensions and to create more effective methods of monitoring the contracts which the state issues.

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Committee Formed to Write Handbook

The Purchasing Division is in the process of rewriting its policies and procedures handbook, in preparation of the Agency Purchasing Conference scheduled for September 24-27.

To achieve this task, several division employees will be working alongside of selected agency procurement officers to produce an understandable and accurate end product. We would like to thank those agency representatives who will be taking time out of their schedule for this project: Jo Bess (Department of Health and Human Resources); Syble Atkins (Department of Tax and Revenue); Phillip Uy (Department of Education); and Sue Farley (Department of Transportation).

Representing the Purchasing Division are Karen Byrd, Jo Ann Dunlap, Ron Price, Evan Williams, Diane Holley and Debbie Watkins.

Your input is encouraged. Direct any ideas or concerns regarding this handbook to Diane Holley at (304) 558-0661 or via electronic mail at dholley@gwmail.state.wv.us.

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Technology on the Horizon
                       Pre-Bid Meeting Attracts a Variety of Vendors for E-Procurement Project

The mandatory pre-bid meeting was held in March for the request for proposal to provide an electronic purchasing system. Approximately 100 individuals were in attendance, representing 50 computer consulting companies.

Prior to this meeting, interested vendors had an opportunity to submit questions regarding this proposal. According to Automation Manager Dan Miller, more than 100 questions were received. At the meeting, Miller extended the deadline for submitting questions by three days.

In a collaborative effort, representatives from the Purchasing Division, Information Services and Communications Division and Financial Accounting and Reporting Section of the Finance Division, the questions were addressed and an addendum was issued to all vendors attending the meeting. Since this meeting was mandatory, only those vendors in attendance may qualify to submit proposals.

Because vendors were provided additional time to submit questions, the Purchasing Division changed the bid opening for the technical proposals to May 8.

The Purchasing Division will continue to keep our Buyers Network readers updated on the progress made on the e-procurement system, which will directly affect all agency purchasers in state government.

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Karen Byrd Appointed Director of ACA Section

Karen Byrd was recently appointed as director of the Acquisition and Contract Administration (ACA) Section of the Purchasing Division.

Byrd served as manager of the External Relations Unit under the ACA Section and temporarily as acting director of the ACA Section.

According to Purchasing Director Dave Tincher, "Karen has substantial experience in public purchasing and has brought many new ideas and positive contributions to the Purchasing Division. Her professionalism, knowledge and dedication to public purchasing will serve the State of West Virginia well."

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Current Statewide Contract Update

Information and dates (as of April 15, 2002) included in this Current Statewide Contract Update are subject to change. If you need additional information, please contact the appropriate state buyer.

Contracts to be Awarded

Contract: SAFETY
Description:
Safety Equipment
File:
22
Vendor:
Discount Industrial Supply - Grainger - Safety Supply, Inc.
Effective Date:
04/01/02

Contract: SANPAP
Description:
Sanitary Paper Supplies
File:
22
Vendor:
Phillips
Effectiv
e Date:
03/15/02

Contracts to be Bid or Under Evaluation

Contract: ITECH
Description:
Information Processing Technical Services
File:
21
Bid Opening:
05/08/02
Under Evaluation:
To Open

Contract: Fuel
Description:
Fuels: Motor and Heating
File:
33
Bid Opening:
04/17/02
Under Evaluation:
Yes

Contracts to be Renewed

Contract: AUDIT
Description:
Single Audit Services
File:
31
Vendor:
Ernst & Young, LLP
Expiration Date:
03/01/02

Contract: WELD
Description:
Welding Supplies
File:
33
Vendor:
Mountain State Airgas
Expiration Date:
04/01/02

Contract: RIB
Description:
Ribbons and Toners
File:
42
Vendor:
Impression Products
Expiration Date:
03/15/02

Contract: SUPFD
Description:
Supplemental Foods
File:
42
Vendor:
Mead Johnson Co.
Expiration Date:
05/15/02

Contract: FOOD
Description:
Canned Foods and Staple Groceries
File:
42
Vendor:
Standard Foods - Wendling - Brisk Coffee
Expiration Date: 06/15/02

Contracts to be Reviewed

MAY

File 21: SAT
Satellite transponder Time

File 21: DIGCOP
Digital Copiers

File 22: DWASH
Dishwashing Materials

File 22: BARSOAP
Bar Soap

File 22: LAUNDRY
Laundry Materials

File 22: WIPING
Wiping Cloths

File 33: OIL
Lubricants and Oil

File 33: RE-OIL
Re-Refined Oil Products

File 33: CEREAL
Breakfast Foods

JUNE

File 22: ELECHDW
Electric Cable and Hardware

File 33: R-SHEET
Reflective Sheeting

File 33: DC BATT
Dry Cell Batteries


Purchasing Division Staff

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

File 21
Charlyn Miller
(558-0067)

File 22
Pam Jones
(558-0468)

File 31
Evan Williams
(558-2596)

File 33
John Johnston
(558-0492)

File 41
Ron Price

(558-2316)

File 42 
Betty Francisco
(558-0468)

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Questions?...Just Ask!

Are you unsure of certain purchasing procedures? ... 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 this form:

Name:

Organization:

E-Mail Address:

Telephone:

Need Information About:

 

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Thank You for Viewing our May 2002 Issue of The Buyers Network