Was The NIGP Competitive RFI For Their Consulting Arm Really Competitive? by Jon Hansen

Posted on April 24, 2015

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The task force created a competitive Request for Information process that was distributed to interested providers on August 29, 2012. An open, competitive process was utilized.

• The task force received six (6) proposals to the competitive RFI issued by NIGP:

1. BravoSolution submitted by Tom Pellescki
2. Florida Atlantic University’s Public Procurement Research Center submitted by Dr. Cliff McCue
3. IRIS submitted by Sanjeev Drego
4. Periscope Holdings submitted by Chris Kennedy
5. Purchasing OutSource submitted by Jill Klaskin-Press and Tom Blaine
6. RFP Solutions submitted by Devin Crockett

The above is an excerpt from a comment exchange with Rick Grimm in my April 6th post “NIGP CodeGate’s Deep Throat reveals troubling conflicts of interest at the “non-profit” association.”

As I had previously indicated, the NIGP Chief Executive did not exactly present a compelling argument in terms of the NIGP’s conduct relative to the Missouri award protest and subsequent threat to pull the winning vendor’s NIGP code license.  Nor did he distinguish himself in terms of explaining the “competitive” RFI process that resulted in Periscop Holdings being selected as the preferred company to engage for the Consultancy Program.

Speaking of the competitive RFI process, I thought that I would do a little further investigation, starting with contacting the companies listed in Mr. Grimm’s comment.

In today’s post, I will talk about my dialogue with one of the companies who submitted a proposal – RFP Solutions.

After several attempts to reach Devin Crockett by telephone – and no, I did not leave a voice mail message for obvious reasons – I finally connected with him a short time ago.

In introducing myself, I indicated that I was calling from Procurement Insights, and that I was doing a story on the NIGP related to their competitive RFI for their consulting services.

I then informed him that I had received his name by way of Rick Grimm who had listed both he and his company as one of six respondents to the RFI.

Bearing in mind that the RFI process took place in June 2012, his reaction surprised me in that he sounded noticeably nervous, indicating that he was not sure that he could talk about that.

I asked if he was indeed the same Devin Crockett that was involved with the NIGP RFI, and he said that “it sounds like it.”  It sounds like it?

He then asked if I could give him my number and that he would have someone – presumably higher up, call me. Which I did.

I then asked “isn’t is strange that the US-based NIGP would look at a Canadian firm as a possible candidate” for this opportunity?  I also mentioned that I found it odd that given his background (he has a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree with a major in Graphic Design, as well as a Creative Graphics Diploma), and the fact that he is the company’s Communications Manager, that he would be the one listed as submitting the RFI response?

He said “that is an interesting way of looking at it.”

Mr. Crokett then asked if I could e-mail my questions to him so that he could present them to the right people, and get back to me.

The following is the e-mail I sent:

Good Afternoon Devin:

Thank you for taking my call.

As indicated, I am with Procurement Insights and I am following up on our coverage of an NIGP story relating to the organization’s RFI for their Consultancy Program.

NIGP’s Rick Grimm indicated that RFP Solutions were one of six companies that responded to a competitive RFI and listed you as the individual who submitted the response.

Based on the information that Mr. Grimm provided we would like to know the following:

  1. Beyond the RFI was there ever any indication that an RFP or a competitive bid process would take place?
  2. When you were informed that Periscope had been selected what if any explanation was offered in terms of why your organization had not been selected?
  3. How did you hear about the RFI request, and why did RFP Solutions decide to participate in the RFI?
  4. Had you participated in similar RFI’s in the past related to running a consultancy for another organization? If yes, were you successful and, for which clients do you presently manage their consultancy arm?
  5. Have you participated in similar RFIs to that of the NIGP since?
  6. Given your background and education, why were you personally listed as one to submit the RFI response to the NIGP – especially given the positions of those listed who also responded for the RFI. 

Thank you again for taking my call.

Within approximately 15 to 20 minutes, I received the following response:

Good day Jon,

In regards to your email: we responded to a publicly posted RFI in 2012, and we received confirmation of receipt of our response. We are not aware of the outcome.

We have no other information related to the RFI.

Sincerely,

Devin

I then sent a follow-up e-mail asking “One quick question . . . where was it publicly posted?”

To this last e-mail, I have yet to receive a response.

As a procurement professional does the above make any sense to you?

It certainly doesn’t to me.

Given both the importance and the influence that offering consulting services under the NIGP banner represents, it seems to have been a somewhat loosely run RFI process.  I mean with only six respondents, the NIGP could not find the time to let RFP Solutions know that the organization had selected someone other than their company?

I still haven’t figured out why Mr. Crokett was somewhat nervous or unsettled when asked about an RFI response from 2012.

At least I was able to locate Mr. Crockett.

So far locating Sanjeev Drego from IRIS is proving to be as difficult as finding Jimmy Hoffa – which in today’s Internet world is a rarity.  Especially for someone who is usually quite adept at getting information.

I will continue to look into the list provided by Mr. Grimm, but based upon what I have discovered so far (or haven’t discovered), it would perhaps be reasonable to suspect that there may be a few problems with his “COMPETITIVE” RFI process.

How competitive was the RFI?

How competitive was the RFI?

Just started following the NIGP #CodeGate story? Use the following link to access the Post Archive; https://procureinsights.wordpress.com/nigp-codegate/

Follow my coverage of this story on Twitter using the hashtags #missbid and #CodeGate

On The Go? You can also listen to the audio version of this post as well as others through @Umano https://umano.me/jhansen

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