PAMSP 2021 Contract Under Protest

It’s time for PennDOT to hire some good lawyers as the “3rd Party Vendor Model” is coming under protest – as it should. It’s a bad idea poorly executed, which is right in PennDOT’s wheelhouse when it comes to PAMSP.

What’s happening now:

As of December 30th, 2020, the current 2021 contract award winners for RFP 3520R02 have had their awards frozen while RFP 3520R02 is under protest by one or more entities.

You may notice there is no link to RFP 3520R02 as PennDOT, for the first time in the history of PAMSP, has not made the (Government…) contract available publicly – which is another item to protest – but is loosely based on RFP 3520R01 – the 2020 “Emergency Contract” which is public.

What does all of that mean? That every vendor is taken back to their 2020 awards for 6 months.

If you’re thinking this is a mess, you’d be right.

Lawyers: Sharpen your pencils.
Politicians: Keep ignoring PennDOT’s misadministration of PAMSP.

The “6 month extension”:

How is PennDOT extending the 2020 contract for another 6 months, and only to the existing 2020 PAMSP 3rd party vendors? Well, according to the terms & conditions of the 2020 contract, poorly…

Under Appendix B (PA PO standard terms & conditions) of RFP 3520R01 section 1.2 “CONTRACT-002.1B Term of Contract” the “Emergency Contract” officially terminates on December 31, 2020. For those of you keeping score that was yesterday… or the day the extension request letters went out to 2021 Offerors to consider and execute.

Ok, so they are getting in under the wire, right?

Well… read down to Appendix B of RFP 3520R01 section 1.3 – “CONTRACT-002.3 Extension of Contract Term” where it says: “The Commonwealth reserves the right, upon notice to the Contractor, to extend any single term of the Contract for up to three (3) months upon the same terms and conditions.”

So PennDOT extended the existing 2020 contract for 3 months!

Wait – you are probably thinking – didn’t you just say the 2020 contracts were extended for 6 months?

Yes, we did.

Extra-contractually PennDOT was “granted emergency approval to extend Emergency Purchase Order 4300675378 for an additional three months through June 30, 2021”.

Granted by whom, how and how is this executed? We’re not a tin-foil hat organization here but honestly folks, there are a number of people involved in this at a State level.

PennDOT has put the 2020 vendors in an uncomfortable position. Their 2021 awards are under protest and the existing vendors want to keep their existing toehold in PA. The only way the existing vendors get to keep their 2020 sites in 2021? By executing an extension letter and returning it to PennDOT. On the day the existing contact expires… but by January 4th, 2021 (after the current contract has expired…).

So, a 6 month extension.
Not quite so fast.

The PAMSP training season typically starts in March/April each year. So extending the 2020 “Emergency Contract” for 6 months, until the end of June 2021, it’s really a ~3-month extension…

So 3 months = 6 months = 3 months.

Now take your hand and pinch yourself because no, we’re not making this up.

Why the extension:

According to PennDOT “A fixed Emergency extension timeframe through June 30, 2021 is necessary to plan, announce, schedule and conduct training for the first and second quarters of 2021”.

Translated into English: We need time to address the legal challenges to the 3rd party vendor process we whipped up in 2020 and rushed into service in 2020 and 2021 replacing 35 years of program administration contract RFPs with a single Program Administrator in keeping with the construction of our Title 75 authority.

What happens next:

RFP 3520R02 is being protested by one or more vendors for one or more reasons, as it should be.

RFP 3520R02 is a bad idea compounded by poor execution, done outside of the public view – with public funds – that will irrevocably change PAMSP for all time. The fact that RFP 3520R02 isn’t publicly available for review and comment should sound an alarm for anyone who cares about PAMSP.

What happens next is PennDOT, again outside of public view, will review the protests against RFP 3520R02 as it tries to salvage the 3rd party model they want to implement.

If the protests are strong enough it means that this process could continue for more than 6 months, this puts all of the offerors in limbo, creates additional costs for Pennsylvania taxpayers, places additional burdens on Instructors – the ability to work, the potential requirement to train in a whole new curriculum – and severely impacts students’ access to Motorcycle Safety Training as only 1/3 of PAMSP sites will be operating, and training will again be limited in availability.

For yet another year, nearly 5 years if you are keeping track, Motorcycle Safety Training in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania will suffer. All because PennDOT decided, for the first time in 35yrs, to cancel a contract already suspended in 2020 then rush a completely new 3rd party system into production, all during a Global pandemic.

If you care about that?
Peacefully, frequently, competently.
Think about who should be running PAMSP and how it should be run.

In plain English?
Get off your butt and make some noise.

To all of you out there, have a safe and happy 2021 as we put 2020 on the shelf:
Happy New Year from the PA Motorcyclist family to yours.

See you out on the road in 2021.
Ride safe & ride PA, ride.

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