PTC to spend $426K on computer upgrades

Peachtree City will purchase its computer equipment from VC3 after all, as the company was the highest-rated of two proposals received for the project.

VC3 also had the lowest cost at $426,892, some $46,000 less than the initial proposal in April from VC3, which city staff had recommended for approval without taking bids or seeking proposals.

But a significant public outcry put the brakes on that plan, as council members elected to put the equipment, software and installation out for proposals which allowed other companies to make their sales pitch to the city.

VC3, however, maintained a slight advantage because it was the firm that had conducted the city’s technology analysis and it also wrote the specifications for what computer upgrades the city would need to purchase.

City Councilman George Dienhart asked about the drop in price from VC3’s initial proposal under the no-bid contract and its latest proposal under the competitive RFP (request for proposals) process.

Finance Director Paul Salvatore said he thought VC3, which has been providing interim information technology services to the city since February, has upgraded several computer systems already such as the email and backup system.

“If nothing else, we are vigilant about our no-bid contracts now,” Dienhart said.

Although a request for proposals based on VC3’s specifications was sent to 140 vendors and was posted on the city’s website, only seven vendors attended the mandatory pre-solicitation meetings, according to city staff.

The two computer purchase and installation proposals were reviewed by a third-party company hired by the city, Southern Tech Professional Consulting Services, which used three independent reviewers to assess the proposal from VC3 and Presidio, the latter of which was $58,000 more expensive.

Salvatore said a separate request for proposals was still pending to select a company to provide the city’s information technology services in the future and “basically be our IT department going forward.” The proposals were still being evaluated to make sure the comparisons between them were similar, Salvatore said.

“We are doing a little bit more due diligence on that contract,” Salvatore said. “... We felt it was a long-term commitment so we needed to make sure we were dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on that one.”

Salvatore said the recommendation on those proposals is expected to be on council’s agenda for its July 12 meeting.

VC3 has been conducting the city’s information technology work on an interim basis following the resignation of the city’s IT manager and was initially recommended in April by city staff to have a $221,712 annual contract to perform that work without competitive bids or proposals being sought. But the same outcry about the initial no-bid computer purchasing proposal spilled over to the IT contract and council decided to have the contract put out for proposals instead.

The RFP process allows the city to avoid using just price as the sole measure of selecting a vendor. Instead, the RFP process allows the city to rank vendors based on a number of criteria including experience, service and previous similar projects, although pricing almost always gets some “weight” in the grading system.

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