Thursday, June 08, 2006

Thompson Breaks Down While Describing Scoring Process

Georgia Thompson broke down this morning as she recounted for jurors her realization that she and other members of the travel contract evaluation committee rated Adelman Travel company more on their presentation than the substance of their offer.

The night before the members were to turn over their score sheets, Thompson said she went through and recalculated her numbers. It was then she realized that three days of committee members trashing the Adelman presentation had negatively affected her score. Thompson said she and other commissioners complained about the Adelman presenters' "abrasive" and "pushy" manner, and that they used much of their time pitching for an online travel contract they weren't even eligible for. She said, however, that judging a potential contract on criteria outside the RFP is a violation of state regulations.

As a consumer, she said, if you don't like a salesperson's personality, you can choose a different store. It doesn't work that way with the state, she said, as she broke into tears.

"In government, you can't say that. You can't say you don't like the presenter," she said. "You can not score them on whether you liked them or not."

Thompson said she adjusted her score, and the next day at the committee meeting asked the other members if they wanted to reconsider their marks.

"Everyone said no," she said. "Everyone stated that Omega was the clear winner."

Thompson testified that she continued to pursue her point until a coffee break was called. During the break, she was approached by her supervisor Pat Farley, who told her that the employee she had been working on a disciplinary action with for a year had agreed to retire.

Hurley asked if that wasn't a happy occasion.

"It meant I had to do all her work," said Thompson, choking up again as she did so. She also said that part of the employee's "separation agreement" included a retroactive promotion to a higher pay grade. "I thought it was a promotion she wasn't entitled to," Thompson said, wiping away tears.

Hurley asked if Farley had mentioned Adelman Travel or the contract process during their discussion. She said no.

When she returned to the meeting her demeanor had changed, Thompson said, acknowledging the testimony from prosecution witnesses. She said she was facing a meeting with Woodke at the end of the day in which she had to sign retirement documents. "I was upset - very upset," she said.

"I was also angry that they were so locked in on Omega and they couldn't give me a reason," she said. "I lost my composure."

She said she was considering going through legal channels to stop the procurement of the partner contract based on the unfairness of the bid scoring. When commissioner Lisa Clemmons mentioned that the bid should go to a best and final offer phase, Thompson agreed, seeing it as a solution to the problem.

In earlier testimony, prosecution witnesses said Thompson brought up at the meeting that she changed her score on the travel contract for university athletics. The witnesses said they thought she was looking for reciprocation for that on the Adelman bid, but Thompson said the reason she brought it up was because she was trying to illustrate to members that scores can change when new information comes to light.

She said during discussions for the athletics contract, she learned about the difference between NCAA team travel rules and requirements for Division 1-A schools. She said that changed her score for the vendors.

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