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Re: Agenda Topic: D1 --- Proposed PSA gives Council an Opportunity to Make Needed Contract Awarding Policy Changes

From: domainremoved <Lynne>
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2019 10:22:35 -0800

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Dear Council,

When I wrote you, I didn't include full details as to how I learned about Sudhanshu Tikkar's background. Sorry about this. In short, I saw his name on the Conflict of Interest form in the July 10, 2019 RFP. I then Googled his name and found these background details on his Linked In Profile<https://www.linkedin.com/in/stikekar/>. That's where I learned that Mr. Tikkar spent 14 years as the Manager IT Infrastructure Operations, City of Redwood City (2000-May 2014)

Lynne


On Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 9:21 AM Lynne Bramlett <lynne.e.bramlett_at_(domainremoved)
Dear Council,

I am traveling so cannot appear in person tonight at your Nov 12, 2019 meeting.

You are being asked to approve E-lkon, LLC's contract extension tonight. This topic gives Council an opportunity to discuss policy changes that would give Council the ability to oversee the City's use of service contracts, while also incorporating best practices to further the general goal of Menlo Park being a well-managed city.

Recommendations:

  1. Institute quarterly reporting of service contracts. Ask Staff to come back with a draft amended Municipal code requiring Purchasing Quarterly Contract Reports<https://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=5902> as in the example<https://www.sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/87678> from the City of San Jose. I would add the ability to summarize contracts per vendor. This feature could become part of the planned Open.gov financial portal.

  2. Ask the Finance & Audit Committee to review and evaluate the City's process for awarding service contracts, and make recommendations based on current best practices. For example, my understanding is that "Performance-based service contracting (PBSC)" is considered a current "best practice." As a 1998 White House Repor<https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/omb/procurement_guide_pbsc>t details, this approach "emphasizes that all aspects of an acquisition be structured around the purpose of the work to be performed as opposed to the manner in which the work is to be performed or broad, imprecise statements of work which preclude an objective assessment of contractor performance. It is designed to ensure that contractors are given freedom to determine how to meet the Government's performance objectives, that appropriate performance quality levels are achieved, and that payment is made only for services that meet these levels.

While the referenced report is from 1998, I found current articles on Performance-based service contracting. I use this as an example. Does the City have an official policy related to awarding service contracts? When was the last time the City's approach to awarding service contracts was reviewed, if ever?

  3. Ask Staff if they considered contracting with Redwood City's IT consulting services.<https://www.redwoodcity.org/departments/administrative-services/information-technology> Please see concern #6 below.

Concerns with Staff's Recommendation to extend E-lkon,LLC's current contract:

  1. Firm has real web business presence. No summary of the firm's business model, list of customers and accomplished projects.

  2. Firm appears to be a two-person firm. Who actually provides the consulting services? Does the firm act as the prime with outsourcing the rest to sub contractors? Preeti B. Tikekar is listed in the Nov 12, 2019 Staff Report and Sudhanshu Tikekar is listed in the July 10, 2019 PSA agreement. They have the same last name. Are they related? How and when do they bring in other sub contractors? All this needed some detailing.

  3. Staff report did not summarize the original process used to select E-lkon,LLC for the July 10, 2019 PSA. <https://www.menlopark.org/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/9574> I looked at the agendas for the June 2019 Council meetings, but did not find a staff report for the original selection of E-lkon, LLC. (Perhaps I missed it.) Who recommended the firm originally?

  4. Lack of specifics in the Nov 12, 2019 Staff Report as to E-lkon,LLC's prior work with the City of Menlo Park.What exactly did the firm do to "improve network integrity, negotiate contracts, streamline contract services and advance ITMP projects?" What metrics were used to evaluate the work of E-lkon, LLC?

  5. List of projects in Nov 12, 2019 Staff Report were more broad statements of work than performance-based scoped projects. I also did not see the Financial Systems Open.gov portal that is being planned. I'm not confident that a two-person firm, even with sub-contractors, could do the range of work. Then again, the list was more topics than scoped plans with metrics.

  6. It seems odd to me that Redwood City's IT Consulting services<https://www.redwoodcity.org/departments/administrative-services/information-technology> were not mentioned in the Staff Report. That's because, according to the July 10, 2019 RFP, Sudhanshu Tikekar used to work for Redwood City's IT Department. Presumably Sudanshu Tikekar gained much experience while working for the RC IT department. To me, it seems logical to consider contracting with Redwood City for MP's IT consulting needs. In other words, if Sudanshu Tikekar is such a a good consultant wouldn't it make sense to go to the main organization where presumably S. Tikekar gained experience? Contracting with Redwood City for IT services would also foster the goal of strengthening ties across cities within San Mateo County, which I understand is a Board of Supervisor's goal. It might also help MP to achieve better economies of scale. Redwood City is also in the process of implementing its Open.gov portal. Seems to me that a stronger partnership with RC would be helpful in many areas. .

Lynne Bramlett
Received on Tue Nov 12 2019 - 10:14:28 PST

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