State Contracting Not Unfair
As the president of a public relations agency that has recently won substantial public education program contracts from a number of state and county agencies, I must take exception to the innuendoes in Dan Turner’s recent column on the request for proposal (RFP) process (“Firms With Sacramento Ties Often Win State Contracts,” Aug. 25).
Mr. Turner’s article seems to imply that without previous experience for the contracting agency and without a Sacramento presence, L.A. public relations firms shouldn’t even bother responding. My firm, Rogers & Associates, has won a number of major state public relations contracts over the past number of years, including a contract to help reduce the spread of AIDS and the high-profile campaign to reduce tobacco use in California. We won these contracts despite the fact that we had no Sacramento office.
Our success drives home the point that while responding to complex RFPs for complex projects is time-consuming and expensive, creative responses that meet the agency’s needs can win substantial contracts, regardless of an incumbent’s performance.
In addition, our batting average is high because, like a hitter with a good eye, we are highly selective about which pitches to swing at. Less important than whether an agency is happy with an incumbent is whether we have the resources, relevant experience, and interest that will lead to superior performance for a particular agency. We also make the frank assessment as to whether a particular contract makes financial sense given our commitment to delivering the highest quality work.
I tend to agree that complaints by unsuccessful bidders are primarily sour grapes. While we must always be vigilant about the dangers of favoritism, our experience is similar to what we have found in the private sector: Government agencies respond favorably to quality proposals that meet their goals and objectives. Our success is testament to adherence to those principles.
Roger & Associates