New York law opens door to cooperative purchasing through KPN and PEPPM

New York’s city and county governments, municipalities, school districts, libraries and nonprofits now have immediate access to purchasing contracts awarded by the Keystone Purchasing Network in neighboring Pennsylvania, thanks to recent legislation.

The law (S.5525c, Chapter 308) allows public agencies to secure lower costs for products and services by piggybacking on bids that have been conducted by other governmental entities, even those in other states.

So public agencies in New York can now save time and money in procurement by piggybacking on bids that already have been solicited, advertised, evaluated, and awarded by two cooperative purchasing programs operated by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) , a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The cooperative procurement programs operated by the CSIU are the Keystone Purchasing Network (KPN) and the PEPPM Technology Bidding and Purchasing Program headquartered in Milton, Pennsylvania.

KPN offers more than 50 contracts now being used by agencies in 48 states, including the District of Columbia.

The PEPPM program specializes in technology products and offers more than 280 contracts, currently used by public agencies in 47 states.

Once denied access to out-of-state contracts, New York agencies can now take advantage of the CSIU’s cooperative procurement programs that are already benefiting public sector entities on a regular basis with competitive pricing and the strong protection of contract terms and conditions.

Both the PEPPM and KPN programs have a long history of success in cooperative purchasing. They have partnerships with forward-looking public agency participants from Maine to Florida, and from Connecticut to California.

Cooperative programs have become more popular with public agencies over the past decade, but PEPPM is the senior leader in the United States with a 30-year history, and KPN is also a veteran with nearly 40 years’ experience serving school and government agencies.

Competing newcomers to cooperative purchasing approach contract development in diverse ways, depending on the state of origin and legal procedures required of the originating agency.

Unique New York Requirement

However, the new law in the State of New York requires that any piggybackable contracts used satisfy the same type of bidding requirements that are currently required under New York law, namely advertising, sealed competitive bidding, impartial evaluation and awards to the lowest-priced responsive and responsible bidders.

The more than 300 contracts awarded by KPN and PEPPM meet those requirements, using proven and tested bid procedures that ensure a fair process for all participants and a low-price result.

During deliberations on the Assembly Bill 8034, proponents cited potential cost savings to New York agencies as the urgent impetus for changing the law and eliminating labor costs.

See a list of KPN contracts that run the gamut from consumable commodities to public works contracts for flooring and roofing.

Successful purchasing cooperatives have unique needs. Mark Carollo has specialized in a niche that requires a comprehensive understanding of technology, ecommerce, specifications, bidding, contract management, and social media.  He is the Associate Director of Cooperative Purchasing for CSIU and oversees KPN's regional and national contract initiatives. He is active in the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials. In addition, he serves on the board of directors of the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies, which has now grown to include 29 state cooperative agencies. Mark has been with the CSIU since 1997 after receiving his degree from Bucknell University.

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