Oakland County wins Purchasing Agency of the Year award

Oakland County’s purchasing unit is the best in Michigan. That’s according to the Michigan Public Purchasing Officers Association (MPPOA) which presented its Agency of the Year award to the county last night at the MPPOA’s Annual Awards Banquet in Mt. Pleasant.
“This award recognizes an entity for work or innovations in public purchasing, involvement within the community and contributions to MPPOA and to the purchasing profession,” the MPPOA said.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson congratulated the county’s purchasing employees who work under the county’s Compliance Office.
“Our purchasing staff is made up of individuals of the highest caliber. This award reflects the excellence they bring to their job every day. They ensure that every dollar the county spends is transparent, accountable, and conforms to county policy and the law,” Patterson said.
The Agency of the Year award recognizes some of purchasing’s innovations such as cooperative contracts. They provide smaller local governments with access to goods and services at a much lower cost than they might otherwise realize. Cooperative contracts also provide vendors with additional business. Purchasing currently has 35 cooperative contracts available to any government entity in the cloud at G2G Marketplace (www.G2GMarket.com).
Other innovations include:
  • Posting all of county contracts and change orders online in the interest of transparency.
  • Designing and implementing a SharePoint-based system to manage contract workflow for which purchasing received a 2013 National Association of Counties award. It ensures contracts are completed and documented in a standard manner and has reduced the amount of paper used and retained by the unit.
  • During the recent economic downturn, purchasing and the Fiscal Services Division used a cost savings blog to generate ideas to save the county money.  Purchasing then began a negotiating campaign with all of contracted vendors to obtain reduced pricing and rates, payment discount terms and anything else that would save the county money. As a result of this campaign, purchasing has saved the county more than $1.7 million since inception.

“These are just a few of purchasing’s many innovations,” Oakland County Compliance Officer Pam Weipert said. “I’m very proud of the team and their accomplishments.”

In November 2012, Oakland County’s internal audit and purchasing functions were merged into the Compliance Office. The Compliance Office has a staff of 16, with 11 employees dedicated to purchasing.

Buyers work directly with county departments and elected officials, taking the lead on solicitations specifications, scope of services development, solicitation evaluations and contract awards. All buyers are cross trained to work with any department or commodity.  Together, they are responsible for the acquisition of goods and services in excess of $100 million annually; approximately 19,000 purchase orders per year; an average of 900 contracts per year; and processing approximately 400 solicitations per year.