Thursday, March 5, 2009

State contracts

We're in crisis in the state right now. Our budgets are cut like crazy, and there are furloughs, threats of layoffs, worries galore.
And one of the biggest problems we face as a state institution is that there's a month or two where we essentially have no spending power --- all spending has to be completed by the end of the fiscal year (meaning purchases have to be completely done, delivered, etc), and new purchases can't be initiated until the following fiscal year.
And budgets can't be carried over, so every year there is a frenzy of trying to get orders in at the end of the fiscal year (in and of itself leading to frivolous spending, in my opinion).
And one of the hoops we have to go through is the following: the state contracts with various vendors for various products. And if, say, we wish to buy a widget-reductor, and there are widget-reductors on the state contract, we have to either (a) buy the state contracted widget-reductor, or, make a solid case that the state approved purchase isn't good for our purposes. For example, it weighs eight tonnes, but I want one that will fit in my shirt pocket. Without ripping it. Unfortunately, this leads to the need to spend hours poring over state-contract-vendors web sites, trying to find information. All in all, given that I have more than $50 to spend out, I've put less value in (in time spent searching) than I will get out... but it is incredibly frustrating.

The worst of it is that what I want is technology, and the state contracts typically run about two years behind the curve on what is out there.

Yours, grrrring,

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