Great Falls Public Schools Alternative Procurement Through A Different Set Of Eyes

Phil Faccenda’s articles about Great Falls Public Schools building procurement procedures made me want to take a closer look. State law (Montana Code Annotated or MCA) dictates requirements for the use of alternative delivery project contracts. So I visited Great Falls Public Schools website and perused the documents I could find that are related to the district’s alternative delivery project contracts. Here’s my take on what I found.

The Great Falls Public Schools are required by state law to justify their use of alternative delivery project contracts. The following paragraphs are found in the district’s documents about alternate delivery project contracts for Giant Springs Elementary School and CMR. The “Code Provision” is referenced from the MCA and the italicized text is the district’s response:

“Code Provision (3) The state agency or governing body shall make a detailed written finding that use of an alternative delivery project contract will not: Encourage favoritism or bias…or diminish competition…”

“The procurement methodology employed by the District is specifically designed to encourage the broadest competition possible, and encourage aggressive pricing competition throughout this process. The Selection Committee will be further instructed to carefully evaluate all submittals against stated selection criteria and award contracts based on the best overall value to the District.”

Brian Patrick, Business Director, Great Falls Public Schools is listed as the author of the document1     document2

It appears to me that the rationale the district employed in these documents explaining the district’s use of alternative delivery project contracts merely assumes the conclusion. It’s a circulus in demonstrando—in other words, an illogical argument.

In these documents, the district is making the argument: “A is true because A is true.”

The reason I came to that conclusion is as follows: I found no “procurement methodology employed by the District” specifically for the use of alternative delivery project contracts, as mentioned in the above paragraphs. Since the district uses that as justification for using an alternative procurement process, how can the district refer to something that doesn’t exist as justification for its actions?

Where is the district’s detailed written findings that use of an alternative delivery project contract will not encourage favoritism or bias…or diminish competition? The two documents provided offer no “detailed written findings” on which to base the district’s justification for using alternative delivery project contracts for these two projects.

Those making a cursory examination of these documents might dismiss the district’s explanation as valid but I see it as a way to hide the lack of rationale for using the alternative delivery project contracts.

Posted by Jeni Dodd

Jeni Dodd is a creative, multi-faceted, multi-talented, knowledge junkie. She currently utilizes her skills in a variety of business and artistic endeavors. Liberty, integrity, truth and critical thinking are among her most important precepts.

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