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NOPA Echoes Doubts on Controversial Amendment to Florida Office Supplies Contract

6 Jan, 2011

NOPA Echoes Doubts on Controversial Amendment to Florida Office Supplies Contract

ALEXANDRIA, VA (December 28, 2010) – The National Office Products Alliance (NOPA) today echoed significant doubts attributed to top executives of the National Association of State Procurement Officers (NASPO) and Staples, Inc. regarding a controversial December 8 amendment to Florida‟s new state office supplies contract with Office Depot. The amendment, signed by Office Depot and the Florida Department of Management Services (DMS), was the subject of a December 25 special report by Matt Clark of the Naples Daily News. Staples and Gulf Coast Office Products, an independent dealer, also were awarded contracts but did not amend their contracts.

DMS also signed a principal procurement agency agreement with the National Intergovernmental Purchasing Alliance Company (National IPA) to allow government and other public entities around the country to „piggy back‟ on Florida‟s contract with Office Depot. National IPA will market the Florida contract nationally and share administrative fees with the Florida DMS.

As amended, the contract allows Office Depot to offer public customers in Florida and other states thousands of off-contract items, not just the 16,000 discounted contract items. The agreement also sets a vague standard that permits "market competitive" pricing of off-contract items, "a provision that gives the company wide latitude in offering a broad range of products to public customers," according to Chris Bates, NOPA President. "It is regrettable that Florida has taken a major step backward with this amendment."

NOPA welcomed statements by senior executives of NASPO and Staples, Inc., both of whom voiced significant doubts about the amendment to Florida‟s contract. According to the Naples Daily News, Jack Gallt, NASPO Association Director, raised questions about allowing a contractor to offer non-contract items under a state contract, advising that "Certainly, it‟s something NASPO would not support."

Staples Executive Vice President Jay Baitler recently advised Office Products International, a leading office products industry journal, that Staples had an opportunity to sign a similar agreement with DMS. OPI quoted Baitler as saying, "We feel that it is an invitation to dissatisfaction and accusations of inappropriate pricing, and we do not want to be in that situation."

About NOPA The National Office Products Alliance (NOPA) is the trade Association for independent office products dealers and their trading partners. Visit www.nopanet.org or 800.542.6672.

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