TX issues new RFP for tourism account

AUSTIN, TX: A spurned bidder's protest prompted the state of Texas to issue a new RFP for its $2 million-plus tourism account, which Weber Shandwick and a team of incumbent agencies won in February.

AUSTIN, TX: A spurned bidder's protest prompted the state of Texas to issue a new RFP for its $2 million-plus tourism account, which Weber Shandwick and a team of incumbent agencies won in February.

Minority-owned San Antonio firm Interlex topped WS by more than 20 points when an evaluation team scored the initial proposals. But Gov. Rick Perry's (R) office instead selected low bidder WS (PRWeek, February 16).

In letters written to the Texas Building and Procurement Commission, and obtained by PRWeek via an open records request, Interlex president Rudy Ruiz said he believed the evaluation team recommended Interlex for the contract, and he met with state officials to negotiate details. Ruiz didn't feel Interlex received ample opportunity to adjust its price and noted that the original RFP counted "compensation and fees" as only 20% of the total score.

The new RFP, issued April 6, weights price as 60% of the total score.

WS Southwest president Ken Luce said his agency began serving the account in late February and will continue throughout the RFP process.

Interlex and WS are expected to participate, while some of the six other original respondents are mulling a second effort.

A bidder's conference is scheduled for Wednesday and the proposal deadline is April 30. The original contract was awarded based solely on written proposals.

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