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COMPETITIVE BIDDING SLASHES STATE RECORDS-MANAGEMENT COSTS BY 70%

The newly awarded contract, projected to save taxpayers $3.5 million over five years, is available for use by all state government branches and municipalities.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — As part of continuing state cost-cutting initiatives, a contract awarded to Capital Records Management Center Inc. for paper records storage and retrieval will dramatically cut the cost of physical records storage by 70 percent. The current contract costs have averaged close to $1,000,000 per year for paper storage. Under the new contract, state taxpayers will likely pay less than $250,000 each year.

“This is another grand slam for Rhode Island taxpayers,” said Brian P. Stern, who oversees the state’s Division of Purchases at the Department of Administration. “Once again, the state has achieved major savings simply by putting our business out to bid. Not only will these savings help cash-strapped service agencies across state government, but we specifically wired into the contract the ability for all state branches — including the General Assembly and the Judiciary — and all Rhode Island municipalities including cities, towns and school districts — to take advantage of the pricing found in this new contract.”

All of government across Rhode Island should therefore take note. A similar, soon-to-be-awarded contract for electronic records management is expected to bring in additional savings, Stern said.

“This is another success for the Big Audit and another great development for Rhode Island taxpayers,” Governor Donald L. Carcieri said. “Since the beginning of my administration, we have worked to renegotiate as many state contracts as possible so we can get better deals for Rhode Island taxpayers. As a result of this effort, we are generating significant savings. For instance, the new state employee health care contract is saving $25 million over three years, while the new emissions contract will save taxpayers an additional $15 million over the next five years. The new contract with Capitol Records – which is 70 percent less expensive than the old contract – is another great example of how the Big Audit is driving better bargains for the Rhode Islanders who are paying the bills.”

“This also shows that companies that have been doing business with the state for years are starting to get the message,” Carcieri continued. “As we have demonstrated our willingness to award old contracts to new vendors, those companies are beginning to realize that this isn’t business as usual. Long-established state vendors can no longer take it for granted that they will automatically get new state business. As a result, they are coming to the table with better deals for the state and for the taxpayers. I want to thank the entire Fiscal Fitness team for continuing their efforts to streamline state government.”

The physical storage-management contract resulted from a request for proposals (RFP) issued by state purchasing officials in May of last year. All bids were opened on June 27. This process, common in the private sector, resulted in seven companies vying for the state’s physical-record storage and retrieval business, with an additional 13 for electronic imaging currently under consideration.

A review team scored each of the seven proposals based on cost and technical issues. The review team consisted of a diverse representation across the Executive Branch and the Secretary of State’s Office. The review team was led by Dan Majcher from the Governor’s Fiscal Fitness/Big Audit Program and also included: Lorraine Hynes, from the Division of Purchases; Gwenn Stearn, the State’s Archivist, and Richard Hite from the Office of the Secretary of State; Jeffrey Greer from the Department of Business Regulation; Edward D’Arezzo, from the Department of Health; and Gail Theriault, Esq. from the Department of Labor and Training. These experienced, hardworking state employees performed their evaluation in addition to their normal governmental duties and deserve a lot of credit.

Companies that passed the technical-review criteria — and had proven experience in this field — were then ranked by their cost estimates, with the lowest cost in that group getting the state’s business. Capital Records Management, the state’s incumbent vendor, received the contract, but not before sharpening its pencil.

“We absolutely look first at the ability of a vendor to do the job, and do it well,” said Dan Majcher of the Governor’s Fiscal Fitness government efficiency program and chair of the review team overseeing this bid. Majcher continued, “Once we do that homework, we look at the costs in an attempt to get the best rates for the state. In this case, there were two bidders that stood out among the rest, but after a fair and competitive process, the state’s existing vendor was the best choice primarily based on cost.”

“My goal is to get the best value for the taxpayer through a fair and competitive process, and it does not matter to me if the company already has a contract with the state. Here, the current vendor, Capital Records, stepped up to the plate and fixed a low price for the duration of the contract,” Majcher noted, adding that the state was previously paying over $.60 a box per month for storage costs and now will only pay only $.15 a box per month for the next five years. While some of this saving will slightly be offset by a charge for retrieval and delivery, the savings will be significant.

The physical records storage and retrieval contract is the latest of a number of statewide contracts put out to bid, such as contracts for auto-emissions testing, office supplies, overnight shipping and telecommunications needs. Previously, the records storage contract was executed in 1992 and simply extended over time until Governor Carcieri’s administration had an opportunity to go out to bid.

“In an era when the cost of everything is going up,” said DOA purchasing agent Stern, “it’s important to show the taxpayers of Rhode Island that in working wherever appropriate to make government run like a business, we’re actually able to pay less for the same, or even better, services. And just as important is proving to the business community — inside and outside Rhode Island — that the way this administration goes about business is with aboveboard, professional but, yes, tough negotiating and competition. Frankly, I don’t care who knows who. All I care about at the end of the day is who can give Rhode Island taxpayers the absolute rock-bottom best deal.”

Related links

Department or agency: Fiscal Fitness

Online: http://www.fiscalfitness.ri.gov/

Release date: 02-05-2007

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