FACTS about Public Roofing Procurement, and Oversight. Copyright 2010 by Robert R. Solomon

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pennsylvania Schools pay $100,000,000.00 MORE on Sole Source" Roofs through Purchasing Cooperative.

Friends:

Today, I have something very special for you.

An "Honorable" Politician in Pennsylvania, and my "Honorable" friend, Ms. Janial Mack.

The "Coalition for Procurement Reform" (CPR), a group of good people, and companies doing the right thing for our industry, the taxpayers, our schools, and our children.  

This shows just how much money School Boards are blowing on the deranged "Purchasing Cooperative Roofing "SCAM".  Only ONE manufacturer is listed, and that manufacturer is Tremco/WTI.  The same Tremco that was fined $61,000,000.00 by the DOJ for abusing GSA contracts.

Tremco, and their Attorney are currently being sued by the SEC for lying, and the SEC wants a jury trial.  Does that sound like a firm you'd bet your reputation on?  Regularly, I am contacted by Attorneys looking for School District "enablers" of the well known scam.

Let's look at this wonderful development:

https://www.delcotimes.com/news/state/lawmaker-state-overspent-for-school-construction-costs-in-excess-of/article_7bf6b39d-67d8-5eae-9e4b-da2450d88bea.html

I also appear in the "comments" section below the story. Much, much, appreciation to Mr. Dave Lemery/Watchdog.Org




Lawmaker: State 'overspent for school construction costs in excess of $100 million'

By Dave Lemery | Watchdog.org

One of the facets of school costs that can drive up property tax bills is large-scale infrastructure projects. Many school buildings across Pennsylvania are many decades old and require costly maintenance or replacement.
The traditional way that such a project gets completed is by putting out a notice to builders that they can bid on the contract, and then the lowest bid that meets the contract’s stipulations wins the job. But another method that has seen some popularity in Pennsylvania and across the country largely circumvents the public bid process, drawing accusations that it has left taxpayers on the hook for inappropriately inflated expenses.
The Pennsylvania House State Government Committee held an informational hearing Thursday to look at the topic in relation to legislation proposed by Rep. Jesse Topper, R-Bedford. His bill would end the practice of using cooperative purchasing agreements to arrange for school infrastructure projects.
“We certainly live and operate in a time when school districts are looking for any opportunity to save money,” Topper told committee members. “We also know that a huge cost to school districts is any kind of a construction project, whether it be a roofing project, an expansion, renovation.
“And so we're just looking to make sure that this system that we have currently in place that offers not only competitive bidding but also this cooperative purchasing for construction is actually working,” he continued. “I think there have been cases across the state where it has not been working.”
Cooperative purchasing is a practice used in both the public and private sector whereby different entities – businesses, school districts, etc. – combine forces to overcome their relatively small stature and negotiate for better terms in the purchase of supplies or equipment.
“Cooperative purchasing is useful,” said Janiel Mack, who was testifying on behalf of the Coalition for Procurement Reform, an industry advocacy group. “It's a useful tool if used for the intended purpose of commodities, such as papers and pencils and chairs. This practice however, has morphed into non-commodity construction items, costing the taxpayers and state of Pennsylvania millions of dollars unnecessarily.”
According to Mack, the co-op process has made it easy for school administrators to more or less outsource the competitive bid process and not have to wrangle with all the arcane details. The downside, she said, is that the school district doesn’t get the best possible price.
“Through independent studies and FOIA requests, it's estimated that the state of Pennsylvania has overspent for school construction costs in excess of $100 million over a five-year period,” she said.
Mack provided a number of specific examples where districts had established pricing through the co-op process but then turned to the traditional open bid process because of taxpayer pressure.
“Big Spring School District [had a] 180,000 square foot roof,” she said in one example. “Through the co-op, the price was $2.4 million. The competitively bid price was $1.4 million for the same roof. That's a million dollar savings on one roof.”
Rep. Pam DeLissio, D-Philadelphia, seemed to suggest that if school districts were failing to get the best possible deal with taxpayer funds, it would be up to voters to replace the school board members rather than state government getting involved.
“School boards are elected bodies,” she said. “They’re elected by their communities. School boards are held accountable when they run for office every four years. So what this sounds like we're saying is that school boards are not acting in an accountable manner, nor those personnel who are running the school districts.”
But to Mark Sobeck, president of Mark J. Sobeck Roof Consulting, individual citizens have had limited success fighting the practice on a district-by-district basis.
“People go to the school board meetings and throw fits about it, and they write letters to the editor and they're in the papers,” he said. “We see them all the time. We get copies of them all the time. But it doesn't faze the school board. When their mind is made up, they are getting this system, and we don't know why. We'll call them, we’ll contact them, we’ll explain that they're paying two to three times as much. And it falls on deaf ears.”
John Brenchley, Chief Innovation Officer with Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, an association of school districts that oversees one of the most-used co-op programs in the state, argued that school districts that rely on standard public bidding for infrastructure projects are left in the lurch if the work is not up to snuff. He told the committee that in a past job as a business manager for a school district, he’d had bad experiences with public bid contracts leading to leaking roofs that had to be re-bid for repairs, but with cooperative purchasing, the vendor has to provide fixes at no extra cost.
“Individually, when we have the schools work with contractors, we really have no power, because once the job's done, it's done,” he said. “The comment [from the contractor] is, ‘well, go and sue me.’ When you go through cooperative purchasing, you have the power of the cooperative purchasing behind you.”
Upon questioning by Rep. Matthew Bradford, D-Norristown, Brenchley revealed that Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit makes about $2 million annually by administering cooperative purchasing agreements. Since CSIU established the co-op program for school infrastructure 17 years ago, the only company to have won that contract is Weatherproofing Technologies Inc., which in turn hires local contractors to do the actual work – vendors that could be hired directly by the district through traditional open bidding.
Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Palmyra, a frequent voice on the committee on accounting best practices and fraud prevention due to his career as a CPA, seemed to have a problem not so much with the co-op program itself, but with the fact that in many cases it entirely supplants the open bid process.
“I'm reluctant to constrain the school district, but at the same time I'm reluctant to have the taxpayer foot a bill that something that's unnecessary,” he said.
Dave Lemery is a regional news editor at Watchdog.org. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dave at dlemery@watchdog.org.
This article originally ran on watchdog.org.
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 Rep. Topper, and Ms. Mack are nicer, far more civilized, and professional than I will ever be.  I'm not allowed in courtrooms because I carry a WWII  flamethrower, and the scanner machine will 'beep" every time.
If you care to see my comments regarding the above, you may find them here:
https://www.delcotimes.com/news/state/lawmaker-state-overspent-for-school-construction-costs-in-excess-of/article_7bf6b39d-67d8-5eae-9e4b-da2450d88bea.html
We do not want qualified manufacturers excluded from a bid list, and that includes Tremco.  They are welcome to compete with the rest of us.

All we're asking is the opportunity to compete for our own tax dollars.

Does that sound fair?

Does that sound reasonable?


Of course it does.


Reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to keep looking "UP"

Respect.

Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Public Procurement Analyst
State Certification  CCC 1325620
Licensed Consultant
Tampa, Florida
RobertRSolomon@aol.com














Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Search "Public Roofing Oversight" (Revised)

Friends:

The purpose of this site is to increase public awareness of "Predatory Sales Models" and "Exclusion" of  fair competition in public works.

Everything I say here is backed by  public record, and subsequent documentation.  If I say something that is factually incorrect, I will retract it.  Constructive criticism is encouraged, and welcomed.

NOTE: Retired 2003, do not solicit nor accept, compensation or personal advancement of any kind.

*Revised 01,21,2019

Architects, Public Administrators, Contractors, Consultants, Manufacturers, and Distributors, are all affected by "Proprietary Specifications".  A sales trick to eliminate all competition for taxpayer money.

In the upper left search box, please type keywords:  School Roofing Scam, Purchasing Cooperative, Taxpayer abuse, Tremco, Garland, sole source, RCI, NRCA, Honor, Fairness, Competition, Public Procurement,etc.

Approximately 162 posts all told. 

Highly recommended is Roof Consultant's Institute who provide necessary data, and support.  

"Self Advocacy Tools"

http://rci-online.org/news-and-advocacy/self-advocacy-tools/

FACT:  Garland, and Tremco do not make half the products they sell, and are not found in any local roofing supply house. It must be trucked in from Ohio.  You are essentially exporting 70% of your local tax dollar to other economies. 

FACT:  Garland, nor Tremco will "Compete" for anything.  Don't believe me?  Tell your Garland, or Tremco Representative that you want to include other manufacturers to the bid list .  Watch their faces, and I GUARANTEE they will run away.

But Ron, the purchasing cooperative says they won by "competitive" means.  This an outright lie.  The Cooperative lies to increase their commissions.  U.S. Communities listed 55 pages of BLANK line items from Garland.

YOU, and all  taxpayers should be concerned that we are paying upwards of 50% MORE for roofing and duped into thinking you've received a value.  The opposite is true.  

If you are working with a Purchasing Cooperative, your district is taking a beating that is 100% avoidable.  Certainly, I've illustrated the scam that is undeniable. 

I know all the manufacturers, and have installed millions of sq. ft. of any subset of roofing.  Steep slope, single ply (EPDM, TPO, PVC), built up, modified, etc.  I've successfully completed over 100 public schools, and know what I'm talking about.

If I don't know the answer, Roof Consultant's Institute (RCI) will.  RCI is the standard for roofing excellence, and an honorable organization with top level consultants.

Many are Architects, Consultants, Engineers, Contractors, Manufacturers, etc. ,ALL are credentialed, and will have someone near you.

I do not belong to any organization.  A lot of my work is very sensitive, and may cause discomfort through association.  They are not allowed to speak freely, while I can tell the truth without fear of reprisal.

Please understand that I have no beef with individuals trying to make an honest living.  It's the "Predatory Sales Model" I despise.  I do not want to "Exclude" those mentioned, and welcome them to any public bid list.  Repeat, I do not want Tremco or Garland "Excluded" from anything.  They should get the same opportunity like everyone else.

IF YOU ARE NOT COMPETITIVE IN THE PRIVATE MARKET, YOU ARE NOT COMPETITIVE IN THE PUBLIC MARKET.

Doesn't that make sense?

Instead of "Favoritism", we seek fair competition for our own tax dollars.  

Roofers will decide all things roofing, and not elite sectors who are without credential, experience, or the exhaustive safety training it takes.  

"My name is Ron, and I'm a roofer.........For some reason, feel like I should be at an AA meeting."

Just so I don't come off like a 'Lone Wolf", will share what the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), and Roof Consultant's Institute (RCI) have to say:

Reference:

From Roof Consultant's Institute:

http://rci-online.org/news-and-advocacy/policy-statements/

June 21, 2012 RCI’s Position Statement applies to all publicly bid work, including federal, state (provincial/ territorial), municipal, and local government projects or otherwise taxpayer-funded projects in which RCI, Inc. members may participate.

Projects not under the procurement requirements of government agencies or that do not utilize taxpayer funds should also employ similar fair and impartial procurement practices. It is the position of RCI, Inc. that all public work and taxpayer-funded projects clearly adhere to all applicable procurement regulations, maintain the highest levels of transparency and value, and comply with the following principles.

In addition to the owner, projects should involve three distinct entities: the design professional, the manufacturer (or supplier), and the qualified contractor (contractor).

1.) . The design professional should be selected by the owner based on qualifications, experience and past performance. The design professional should prepare contract documents to be in compliance with all applicable code requirements (including but not limited to fire, wind, drainage, thermal resistance or performance, warranty and environmental requirements).

Contract documents should not be proprietary or exclusive to a manufacturer, a supplier or a qualified contractor. A product or system that may be able to be produced, supplied or installed by other competitors but is not, is considered a proprietary product/system. Procurement regulations have specific procedures that are required if proprietary materials or systems are to be considered. Design professionals are discouraged from utilizing proprietary specifications.

All projects should utilize a minimum of three manufacturers or utilize materials commonly available from three manufacturers. Systems should be selected to meet specific performance criteria or standards. The design professional must adhere to all state (provincial/territorial) licensing requirements and carry the appropriate errors and omissions insurance.

2.)  The manufacturer and its suppliers should provide the materials and systems adhering to the contract documents. A manufacturer should not act as the design professional unless qualified to do so, and should state in writing and publicly its financial interest in the specifications/requirements provided. Contractual obligations or agreements should not exist between owners and manufacturers. Proprietary and/or exclusionary specifications intended to limit competition among manufacturers, suppliers and/or qualified contractors are strongly discouraged.

Manufacturers are encouraged to provide data, RCI, Inc. Position Statement on Procurement – Support Document information, or other assistance to qualified contractors to determine the best use and application of their materials and systems. Manufacturers should not control material specifications.

3.)  The contractor should be contracted directly to the owner. At no time should any contractual or financial obligation or agreement exist between the design professional and manufacturer, or the design professional and the qualified contractor, or the manufacturer and the qualified contractor. At no time should the manufacturer act as either the design professional or qualified contractor. At no time should the design professional act as the manufacturer or contractor.

4.)  Design-build delivery methods are acceptable under the following conditions: (a) The principles noted above, are met. (b) Design build delivery maintains a competitive bidding/tender environment among all parties: designer, contractor, and manufacturer. (c) A design-build contract is used to ensure that a clear line of responsibility for the design and compliance with code is established. It is the position of RCI, Inc. that the use of "buy boards,” group-purchasing agencies, and all similar purchasing models in any type of building construction, remediation, or rehabilitation are not transparent, do not ensure compliance with the minimum requirements of the codes, do not provide a competitive bid situation, and should not be utilized.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is what the NRCA has to say:  Click to enlarge.




There you have it.  The largest roofing organization (NRCA), and the premier Consultant's organization: RCI (Roof Consultant's Institute) have spoken, and any reasonable person will agree.

Please help stop this assault on taxpayers, and school maintenance budgets across all of North America.  The "Scam" is impossible for them to argue, so they take the position of  subterranean termites, and hide.


NOTE;  Retired 2003, do not solicit nor accept, compensation or personal advancement of any kind.

Reject negativity in all forms, and always remember to keep looking "UP".

It is humbling that anyone cares one bit about what I have to say, and please know I am thankful for your time.

Respect.


Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Public Procurement Analyst
State Certification  CCC 1325620
Licensed Consultant
Tampa, Florida


RobertRSolomon@aol.com

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