From: John Gordon, Chairman Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors (ICBV)
Date: March 14, 2005
Subject: Pending Issues
I write this in reference to a telephone conversation I had with you on Friday March 11, 2005 . I will try to be as clear on my issues as I possibly can. I contacted you on Friday to let you know that I had information from the Rehabilitation Services Administration in relation to our priority on Department of Transportation Highway Rest Areas. You stated that this was irrelevant based on the fact that we were having continued dialog over the upcoming execution of a R.F.P. I then stated that I was continuing to build negotiating power and up until this point there has not been much offered from your office.
You did in fact state that you were willing to extend contract pricing to our non state property businesses. Please understand that this concept only brings strength to your ability to negotiate the best possible deal with a bottler and does virtually nothing for us. As an organization we stand to lose approximately $65,000 annually which is above and beyond any deals made between the bottlers and blind operators.
In the letter I had written to you on February 1, 2005 I also addressed a variance which a blind operator could use to petition the state if he or she did not receive proper service. Our ultimate goal is to provide our customers with a quality product at a reasonable price and when a supplier can not provide service in a timely or professional manner we are forced to purchase from other suppliers.
I’m also curious if the R.F.P. for a sole source provider would include all traditional 12 ounce and 20 ounce machines or would this be expanded to cover all beverage products sold on state property. So far I believe our discussions have been directed at carbonated soft drinks and not to the many other varieties of drinks such as juice, water, and sport drinks. Many of our operators along with their traditional soft drink machines have a machine called the BEV/MAX which vends approximately 45 different drink products. It would be very difficult for one provider to supply all the variety of products needed to satisfy our customers.
I also stated in my letter dated February 1, 2005 that pricing was very important and our operators would not be willing to pay any higher prices than they are currently. So far your office has not addressed any of these issues along with the way in which we transition all state property over to the Business Enterprise Program for the Blind (BEPB). We have also not been made any offer in the way of profit sharing derived from money generated through a R.F.P.
As the Illinois Committee of Blind Vendors (ICBV) we have every right under the law to negotiate our own sole source contract and even have precedent in this area. We have successfully negotiated manufacturer programs for the past twenty years and currently collect quarterly rebates from approximately twenty different companies. I have enclosed information for your review and look forward to some sort of successful outcome.