Here's a comparison between buying goods and services in the private sector and in government.
Let's pretend you're the CEO of a major U.S. company. And let's also pretend you are unhappy with your current ad agency and are looking to hire a new one. You announce a competition for your business, pick a deadline for submissions and prepare to evaluate proposals.
Ad agencies go on full alert and scramble their creative teams. They work night and day to produce campaigns designed to showcase your product and win your business.
Typically, they submit an entire, finished ad campaign with print, broadcast, online and radio ads. The agency spends thousands or tens of thousands of dollars producing the campaign knowing the expensive, finished product probably won't ever be used, but it may win the account competition.
Cost to your company? Zero.
Compare that example to the reality of government procurement in San Francisco. The department of public works is looking for a new trash can design. Fox News informs us DPW wants to replace more than 3,000 existing cans with new cans that will "withstand vandalism and tampering, while also including recycling options and alerts when the can needs to be emptied."
Acting Public Works Director Alaric Degrafinried issued a statement, "San Francisco is a beautiful city and keeping it clean can be a challenge. Finding the right public trash can to serve our needs at a reasonable cost has driven this design process."
All that is true, up to a point. San Francisco will be a plum account for the winner and a victory in the new can competition has excellent potential to be leveraged to impress other cities and municipalities so as to acquire even more new clients.
What's more, there are hundreds, if not thousands of companies that manufacture trash cans, meaning competition should be fierce.
Of course, the pool of potentials is smaller when California government is buying. There are 17 states where travel is banned because the legislatures there don't celebrate consonant crusaders as intensely as California demands.
That would eliminate manufacturers in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.
Then San Francisco's city HR department will probably nix any company owned by Trump voters, companies without "diverse" boards and companies that don't require masks on all employees and customers.
This irrelevant nit-picking will reduce the size of the applicant pool, but any time you have more than five potential suppliers there should be competition. All the DPW has to do is issue specifications for the trash can design, set a deadline and wait to see what the creative energy of America will produce.
Only that's not what the city is doing. San Francisco takes its procurement lessons from the Pentagon and instead of letting the competitors produce prototype designs at their expense, San Francisco taxpayers will be paying "$20,000 each for 15 prototype" designs.
Your tax dollars at work.
And that's the difference between private sector procurement and government procurement. Money is no object in government because it's all tax dollars, and those are free!
City drones assure residents that after the initial $300,000 is wasted the new cans will run between $3,000 and $4,000 each. We can only wonder what the final price would have been if the procurement process included say a Walmart buyer as part of the selection committee.
Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker's bureau. Read Michael Reagan's Reports — More Here.
Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian's Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)" Read Michael Shannon's Reports — More Here.
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