Move helps district reach HUB, D/M/WBE businesses
By Jackie Hardy
NDG Contributing Writer
Editor’s Note: This is part two of a series looking at Irving ISD’s purchasing program. Part one ran in our February 23, 2012 issue and can be found online at www.NorthDallasGazette.com.
To improve on its efforts to notify Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) and Disadvantage Minority and Women Business Enterprise (D/M/WBE) vendors about district contracts, the district has hired a Dallas-based software company to manage its procurement process.
Rick Powell, director of purchasing for Irving ISD, said Tyler Technologies will implement the Minus® Vendor Self-Serve will operate as a procurement management tool in helping both the district and the D/M/WBE vendors streamline its data in the most efficient and effective way.
“Without this information, we cannot notify vendors when procurement opportunities are available or track the spending with vendors by certification designation. Without vendor participation, it will be difficult to register vendors due to limited resources for administrative purposes in the district,” Powell said.
He said the district will have a definitive timeline in place for their first vendor software training seminar before the end of March. The purpose for the meeting will not only be to train vendors on how to properly access the new software system, but provide handouts on how to participate in the procurement process and assist vendors on how to work with prime construction contractors through their Construction Manager and Risk companies.
The district hopes to get vendors of all types both certified and non-certified M/WBEs registered on their new software system. According to Powell, one issue they have encountered with the first wave of vendors selected from their current HUB and D/M/WBE list, is some vendors do not completely fill out the sections of the web pages, including the commodity codes of the goods or services they sell, or uploading their certificates for HUB and D/M/WBE.
Irving’s ISD goals for participation states “twenty percent of all qualified D/M/WBEs and HUB vendors and of which, a goal of ten percent will be certified of annual controllable procurement expenditures which are defined as agreements between the IISD and a contractor to provide or procure labor, materials, equipment, supplies and services to, for or on behalf of the district.”
Last month a public information request was submitted to the district (reference number 1037) regarding past contract agreements extended to Alert Services, Inc. Alert Services is the employer of previous Board of Trustee Randy Stipes, formerly of Place 3. According to Alert Services Inc. website, Stipes is the North Central Texas Sales Representative for the company that specializes in meeting the needs of athletic trainers and coaches.
In an email received by North Dallas Gazette, the district paid Alert Services, Inc. a total of $123,978.58 from 2007-2011, according to purchasing documents dated on Dec. 15, 2011 from Irving ISD. During his tenure, Stipes filed a Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement (CIS) on March 6, 2009 and Sharon Morin of Alert Services, Inc. filed a Conflict of Interest Questionnaire (CIQ) on Dec. 20, 2006, per the district website.
Stipes is a very recognized name within Irving ISD as his father, John Stipes served as a long-time Board of Trustee for the district and John and Margie Stipes Elementary school was named in honor of his parents for their many years of service to the Irving ISD.
No formal complaint regarding the conflict of interest with Alert Services, Inc. was brought against the district, according to the Public Records Office of Irving ISD. To further research the district policies on Ethics Conflict of Interest Disclosures visit: http://www.tasb.org/policy/pol/private/057912/pol.cfm?DisplayPage=BBFA(LEGAL).pdf and http://www.tasb.org/policy/pol/private/057912/pol.cfm?DisplayPage=BBFB(LEGAL).pdf.
Powell also shared with the district it recently awarded several million dollars in roofing projects to M/WBE firms where six of the seven projects were awarded to certified firms with Castro Roofing of Texas being one of those certified HUB and D/M/WBE contract recipients.
Although the Irving ISD’s HUB and D/M/WBE program is not yet perfected; Powell wants to assure he and his team are committed to the success of the program. Currently, the Purchasing team is working with its first wave of vendors registering on the Munis® Vendor Self-Serve system in the effort to test the ease of the registration process and the ease of following the on-line instructions. A second wave will begin when all results from the first wave have been evaluated and resolved with respect to issues on navigating the system.
Powell explained in a written response, “If I could appeal to your readers that may be potential vendors, I would ask them to please be patient and work with us to make this process successful for the vendors, the district and most importantly, the children we serve with the goods and services we procure. After the initial rollout phase when the registration process is opened to all, we need vendors to register and follow the instructions so we will have a useful and productive system that makes opportunities available to more qualified vendors. If we do this together, both the vendors and the public we serve will benefit with better value for our tax dollars.”
For more information on the upcoming vendor training for the district’s new software application and information on upcoming HUB and D/MWBE outreach events/bidding opportunities, visit http://irvingisd.net, then click on the Purchasing link and/or contact the Purchasing department at 972-600-5440.