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Michigan businesses claim state is shutting them out of $40 million supply contract

Michigan businesses claim state is shutting them out of $40 million supply contract

December 16, 2011

North Global Office Solutions and Office Express claim requirements for supply contract bids yo Michigan State are tailored towards national chains.

Two Michigan-based suppliers claim they have been unfairly shut out of the contract due to unnecessary new bidding requires.  North Global Office Solutions and Office Express previously met the requirements for the first proposals in 2010, although all first bids were thrown out due to controversy, Free Press reports.

Bradley Lott, President of North Global Office Solutions, stated that their first bid offered lower-priced printer toner, but was rejected by the state in favour of more expensive toner made by the printer manufacturer. With the third round of bidding, officials have stipulated that bidders possess retail outlets throughout Michigan.

Lott commented: “They shaped the requirements to shake us out. I’m offended by that”. Anna Sinagra, Sales Manager of Office Express, added: “We do not understand this requirement. With the current governor really pushing to awaken our economy, it’s shocking.”

Reuben Levy, Vice President, True North, commented: “The process is clearly broken and the people who are losing out are… the taxpayers of Michigan”. Chris Bates President of the National Office Products Alliance, said the requirements were “seriously flawed” and were “contrary to the state’s economic strategy.”

Although officials have denied allegations that the contract was tailored towards retail outlets, OfficeMax currently holds the contract, whilst Office Depot and Staples are also in the running . Kurt Weiss, a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget remarked that the state is “open to smaller entities aligning to provide the needed service [but] there are times when immediate retail purchases are necessary”.

Controversy surrounding the Michigan bid has been prevalent since 2010. Although federal law prohibits printer manufacturers from voiding the warranties of owners who don’t use the manufacturer’s toner, although Michigan State previously barred substitutes for printer toner citing warranty fears. State officials have clarified substitute toner is being accepted in the new bids.

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