Sunday, March 06, 2011

An Example of What?

According to the OD: New Hartford, Rome sharing sets example . . .
An intermunicipal agreement between the city of Rome and town of New Hartford is exactly the type of cooperation between governments that is necessary as leaders search for ways to save taxpayers money. . . .

 In this case, New Hartford will pay Rome $3,750 per month for one year for the handling of information technology work. Supervisor Patrick Tyksinski said that’s about 25 percent less than what it previously paid another information technology company.
But, wait, this isn't Rome renting out potentially underutilized employees and equipment to N.H.  . . . A "public/private partnership" is involved.

According to the article, Rome contracts with M.A. Polce Consulting for this work, paying Polce $12,000 per month. New Hartford would pay Rome to partake of Rome's contract. The article seems to imply that Polce won't increase its price to Rome for all the extra New Hartford work that Rome will dump on Polce. . . . Does that imply that Polce potentially had underutilized employees and equipment that Romans were paying for? 
Company President Michael Polce said his firm will absorb much of the extra work because the business supports the idea of municipal shared services

 . . . but there is no such thing as a "free lunch." According to last week's Sentinel article on this subject:
Polce’s contract with Rome for 2010 was $138,000. The contract for 2011 has not been approved yet.
What happens if Polce increases its price to Rome? Will Romans wind up subsidizing New Hartford? In addition:
The town would have access to the city’s servers, applications . . . .  
If New Hartford were to integrate with Rome for IT purposes, Rome’s servers, which are currently at City Hall, would likely be relocated to Polce’s offices.
Polce having control of the servers would seem to give Polce a leg up in any bidding for future IT services with Both N.H. and Rome. . . Which leads to another question . . .

Why did New Hartford not put its IT work out for competitive bidding? IT is becoming more competitive every day.  Did New Hartford allow Polce to avoid competitive bidding via an inter-municipal agreement with Rome? What happens if something isn't done properly? Does New Hartford go against Rome? or Polce? Could New Hartford have reached a similar deal by going to competitive bidding?

Perhaps it's just me being overly skeptical and/or negative about a "public/private partnership", but it seems rather odd that New Hartford has to get Polce's services through Rome rather than dealing directly with them.

The OD cites this an an example of savings through consolidation. Could it really be an example of something else?


Anonymous said...

IT's most likely another of a long history of the TONH giving another "friend" a`sweatheart deal . Probably just more business as usual.

Anonymous said...

"Public/private partnership" in this iteration seems to be just another way to avoid the procurement policies that should be in place. Where was the RFP for this? Polce might be giving Rome and NH a great deal, but how do we know that?

I agree that consolidation of services is the way to go but let's see it done openly - not in sweetheart deals. And let's make sure the process is open so both the private and public partners can receive the kudos they deserve for saving taxpayer money or the censure they deserve if that's not what is happening here.