A Public Sector Success Story

Image credit: Motorola Solutions

Image credit: Motorola Solutions

When Richmond-area jurisdictions decided to collaborate in purchasing a region-wide radio communications system for police, fire and rescue, the project was estimated to cost about $165 million — with a chance of overruns. The final price tag: $114.7 million.

Henrico County led the procurement effort, leveraging “group pricing” with other jurisdictions to negotiate a lower cost from Motorola Solutions, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

It is encouraging to see examples of government run competently and efficiently. In this instance, taxpayers benefited to the tune of about $50 million.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record… government should focus on a few core functions and do them exceptionally well. Fire, police and rescue are a core government function. Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties along with the cities of Richmond and Colonial Heights handled the procurement of this critical infrastructure exceptionally well. Let them serve as an example for others to emulate.

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2 responses to “A Public Sector Success Story

  1. This sounds like a particularly effective joint purchasing effort. “Cooperative procurement” is a common contract vehicle with local government. It has become a pretty standard rider – so if one municipality issues an RFP and awards, other members of the rider can “ride” on it with the same terms. Many of these are facilitiated via the regional Planning District Commissions.

    Procurement for services is especially expensive for municipalities (cities and counties), so such joint efforts are efficient and effective.


  2. probably as important or more – interoperability – i.e. the ability of different jurisdictions public safety and first responders to “talk” to each other when dealing with issues that require cross-jurisdiction collaboration or even just for one to assist the other when resources are already committed to an existing emergency and a coverage gap exists.

    School systems could do this also – and actually some have –

    I not in Spotsylvania that a joint fleet maintenance facility was created a few years ago between the Schools and the County. It seems like a no-brainer but, in fact, many counties have entirely separate maintenance functions from the school system.

    Finally – a way the state could help counties with their own costs would be to set up a statewide group health insurance pool similar to what has been done for pensions.

    A bigger pool without the duplication of administrative functions would reduce costs and free up money for other purposes at the local level or perhaps the state level to deal with MedicAid costs if they wanted to also set up a Statewide managed care network where both MedicAid and public sector employees would have access and would benefit from portable health records.

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