Cook County has launched its first managed competition procurement to encourage service improvements and cost efficiencies, President Preckwinkle announced.
Cook County is the largest county in the country to pursue a managed competition effort. The process allows for the widest possible range of competition between both public and private providers and will ultimately improve the quality of service for Cook County as well as save millions of dollars on professional, technical, skilled and general labor contracts.
The county’s first managed competition effort will allow private vendors and current custodial workers to compete for the county’s cleaning service in buildings located in the Central District, which includes a total of nine facilities – eight that are currently serviced by county employees and one that is cleaned by an outside vendor.
“We are excited by the opportunities managed competition presents to save taxpayers money and raise the standard of service,” said President Preckwinkle. “Above all else, we are working to ensure that our program is administered in a fair and equitable manner that takes into account both our commitment to our employees and our commitment to good government.”
Managed competition is a structured, transparent process that allows an open and fair comparison of public sector employees with independent contractors in their ability to deliver services to residents. As part of the managed competition process, the county provides clear specifications and service level requirements and a clear process for evaluating both public employee and private sector responses. To ensure that all parties in the process are treated in a fair manner in the bidding process, the county has published a managed competition guidebook that clearly explains the steps in the process and the roles and responsibilities of the various participants. A five-member Managed Competition Review Board will select the winning proposal for President Preckwinkle and the County Board’s evaluation before a contract is awarded.
The proposals for this first bid for custodial services are expected to be submitted in May and after the winner has been selected and approved, the county will utilize clear performance measures to monitor and track services and costs through the life of contracts, and make the service results publicly accessible. If a private vendor wins a contract, the business will be required to pay prevailing wages to their workers.
In instituting its managed competition program, the president’s office examined similar programs in place across the country to see how they were administered and what savings were achieved. In the 1990s in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, public workers won two-thirds of their 34 managed competition opportunities, while saving the county tens of millions of dollars. Over the past several years in San Diego County, public employees won fleet services saving $1.4 million, won workers comp processing saving $330,000 and won service provision in the juvenile division of the Alternate Public Defender saving $220,000. Over the past 12 months, at the City of San Diego, public employees won managed competitions in service areas such as publishing, fleet services and street sweeping totaling a savings of over $6 million.