HARTFORD, CT: The State of Connecticut has decided against consolidating its advertising and PR work with fewer agencies, according to Adam Liegeot, an attorney with the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services.
The state had put out an RFP on March 1st.
Tina Costanzo, the state's procurement officer, told PR Week that it was too unclear whether cost savings would be realized by taking the action.
"We didn't have enough information to verify that savings were substantial to what we had," Costanzo said.
The RFP process closed on May 20.
Connecticut spends about $9 million annually on advertising and PR services, according to Liegeot.
The state is consolidating in other areas, such as the purchase police cars, Liegeot said.
The goal of the state's "Buy Smart, Buy Together" campaign is to "pursue savings without sacrificing quality," Costanzo said.
"The purpose [of the RFP] was to make sure we were doing what was best for the taxpayers," she said, adding that the state decided that a change wasn't in the taxpayer's best interests after all.
"We're saving in a bunch of other categories, but we found that we couldn't get better pricing in advertising and PR," Liegeot said.
Costanzo said that 18 firms submitted proposals since the RFP went up, including Pita Communications, Cronin & Company, Davis Communications, DesignHouse, and Gaffney Bennett Public Relations.
Bill Cronin, president of Cronin & Company, said that the competiting agencies were told at the bidders conference on March 8 that there were 40 different firms currently handling communications and that the state hoped to cut it to a "handful."
"Individual state agencies in Connecticut, in general, have negotiated very good deals with the service suppliers," Cronin said.
He added: "We just don't have any more margin in our operating systems to cut costs. They've already got the best deal."
The state has no current plan to resubmit an RFP, but will continue to periodically review the way it manages its money, as a result of this process, Costanzo said.
Connecticut enlisted procurement specialist Silver Oak Solutions for its RFP process under this plan. Silver Oak has handled similar consolidation moves for Delaware and Virginia, and is currently handling efforts for eight other state governors, according to Silver Oak Solutions managing director Brian Selander.
Selander could not say why an agency wasn't chosen.
"Final decisions on the contacts are made by the state," Selander said.
The award would have been from June 1, 2004 through May 31, 2007.