Milwaukee County Bus Contract A Public Investigator Story?
I don't think the story about the wording of a County request for proposals to potential bus service vendors deserved coverage in a Journal Sentinel spot usually reserved for disclosures about consumer scams, or worse.
Frankly, I don't see what the fuss is all about.
The County says that rather than cutting the available funding to vendors from the get-go, it offered a fixed amount of funding and wants savings from efficiencies plowed back into services.
I'm guessing that if the County said to vendors, 'here's a reduced sum, stretch it further into more services,' the vendors would have responded negatively, or refused to bid.
Then the story would have been, 'County bid process falls flat.'
What comes to mind is a friend's car buying experience several years ago. He had a budget and could afford to spend $20k on a new car. He thought it was a reasonable sum and hoped there was a decent car out there, at that price, which he could use in the city and on long road trips he'd been planning.
Then he went to dealers and said 'this is what I have. What can you provide?'
At first, dealers weren't interested, but then a Toyota dealer offered a new four-door Camry for $20,000.
Granted, the car didn't have hand-sewn Corinthian leather floor mats or whisper-quiet wipers that went on automatically when a raindrop hit the windshield, but it had automatic transmission, a nice CD/stereo, air conditioning and other features that kept that car in heavy use, for years.
His process was fair and productive for all parties.
Back to my point: Lots of information about government and business doesn't rise to the level of story publication. Even if it's about the County bus system.
I was thinking the very same thing.
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