How to Procure Consulting Services Competitively
How to Replace the Hated Performance Review
presented by Peter Mills, Executive Director, Maine Turnpike Authority
I. Competitive Procurement.
In reaction to adverse audit findings at the Maine Turnpike, the Legislature in 2011 directed the Turnpike to obtain all goods and services through "competitive procurement." In the following year, the directive was expanded to 24 state agencies including the University of Maine, the Finance Authority of Maine, the Maine State Retirement System, and others.
"'Competitive procurement'" means an invitation to at least 3 responsible suppliers to bid competitively within a stated time on price and qualifications for supplying goods or services."
Competitive procurement works well for construction contracts, for the purchase of major items like trucks and machinery, and for buying high volume consumables like copy paper. It works less well for the occasional purchase of miscellaneous parts, software, small tools and supplies.
It works poorly to procure services from engineers, architects, surveyors, insurance agents, auctioneers, attorneys, real estate brokers, title abstracters, appraisers, auditors, accountants, bond underwriters, financial advisors, HR consultants, labor mediators, bankers, bond trustees, web designers, advertising firms, electric power brokers, landscapers, workers comp adjusters, medical evaluators, and - in general - consultants of all kinds.
Yet these are all services that the Turnpike must regularly "buy" under the strictures of these statutes.
I will describe how we are so far contending with this challenge and will seek your guidance on how to procure high value consulting services objectively in a setting where subjective evaluations necessarily predominate.
II. The Hated Performance Review.
When I left the military in 1970, I put behind me the receiving and delivery of annual performance reviews. For the ensuing 40 years of practicing in small law firms, I encountered no one who saw any need for them.
When I came to the Turnpike in March of 2011, there they were again -- file drawers full of folders bulging with checkmarks and comments on standard forms assessing how each employee had been doing since the last time a review had been written.
In recent decades, studies and literature hostile to the performance review have grown. While 97% of all American businesses still insist on them, 90% of those same businesses admit that they don't do much good and even cause significant harm to the work environment.
The challenge is: What do you do instead? I will describe some of the suggestions I have received for different classes of employees and ask what advice the group has for instituting any form of simple and comprehensive system that might satisfy managerial needs without inflicting so much damage on work place morale.
About our Speaker
S. Peter Mills, Esq., of Cornville, executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, is a Maine native. He graduated from Harvard College in 1965, served five years on U.S. Navy destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and graduated from Maine Law School in 1973. After practicing law in Portland for nine years, he moved to Skowhegan to become the owner of the Wright & Mills law firm. From 1995 through 2010, he served eight terms in the Maine Legislature. He is a founding member of two central Maine economic development groups. In 2006 and 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for governor in GOP primaries. Since his appointment to the Turnpike Authority in 2011, he divides his time between Turnpike headquarters in Portland and his Cornville woodlots on weekends. In 2014, his wife Nancy was appointed to her fourth 7-year term as a justice of the Maine Superior Court. He has three adult daughters and six grandchildren.
Takes place from 9:45-10:30 following the regular meeting and is optional
Chaos theory and how to make it work for you: Chaotic and Fun!
Chaos Theory teaches that small changes can bring huge changes. When applied to dynamic systems, we can understand how they grow and change. Since our career self-concept is a dynamic system, we can employ chaos theory to manage our careers. “Tuning our scanners” toward understanding our career patterns helps us to determine our constructive and dysfunctional behaviors. In this roundtable we will apply chaos theory through an interactive exercise in order to identify patterns and superstitions we employ in order to take command of the future!
About the Facilitator
William Stone, Ed.D, NCCC, of Promising Futures, has focused his career on helping others maximize their potential through the hiring, coaching, and decision making process.
The ACE regular meeting has networking, a buffet breakfast and a speaker. Guests are welcome.
Registrations are required by January 13, 2015. If you want to be included on the registration list at the meeting then you need to register by the due date.
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Members: the $22 fee only works if you pay in advance. At the door, it is $28.
Cancellation - the meeting will be cancelled if Portland Schools are cancelled.