Today was a mixture of proposal reading and meetings...
I spent most of the morning poring over the four responses to Hartford's RF[I/Q/R] (it's a long story that's resulted in my calling the document an "RFx") for a firm/consortium to build and operate a wireless network to provide free universal WiFi access to citizens and visitors. Two respondents made creditable attempts to answer the RFx, including SWAGs at how to put low cost PCs and training into the hands of the residents. One response was a laundry list of the carrier's wired and wireless offerings (um, that's not what we asked for). The last was about 200 pages and miraculously content free. Put together by a consortium of vendors, it made almost no attempt to address the project in any way. At least 100 pages was taken up by marketing glossies from the WiFi hardware vendor.
The late-morning departmental budget meeting (with the Boss and several of my fellow managers) went quickly and well. We have a compiled budget list, and have generally ranked our projects/activities. Only one of mine is "below the line" we compiled projects/activities in a list ranked from top-to-bottom, with the most important at the top. Along with the list was a cumulative total of cost with a big, fat yellow line at the dollar amount of our projected budget. Anything below that line constitutes an increase and we have to write up a document called a Decision Packet to make our case to the City Council for the cash for that project.
The Boss and I then scooted for City Hall where we met with the other members of the wireless project team to discuss the RFx and determine our strategy going forward. I'm sure I'll have more to say once the selection process has progressed. I'm pleased that we had at least two solid responses.
This evening I finished reading and rating proposals by architectural firms to do a study/design to reuse the now vacant Academy School. I had six of the twelve responses to left to read, and I got through all of them. I filled out, PDFed, and emailed off my rating sheet to the Town person handling the RFP. Some time next week I'll get to participate in a day-long series of interviews with the top-scoring firms. Here too there were a number of good responses and a couple real dogs. One wonders why a firm would put time into crafting an RFP response if they weren't actually going to pay attention to what the RFP was asking for?
Public procurement a marvel of finely honed process. Actually, I've learned something valuable from the Academy RFP: stipulate page limits for the responses! Respondents could have appendices ad infinitum, but the body of their response was limited to eight pages. I need remember that for the next time I put something out to bid in Hartford.