Inyo Supervisors Go “Double Blind”

In an attempt to take the politics out of some county contracts, on Tuesday the Inyo Board of Supervisors tested out their new double blind system for picking who gets county advertising cash.

Rather then give the local chambers of commerce money to advertise the county, the Board decided to put the advertising out to bid and see who brought in the best proposal. With $75,000 budgeted for advertising and marketing this year, the Board received two bid – one from the Bishop Chamber of Commerce and another from Strategic Marketing Group, a marketing company that had worked with the local chambers of commerce in the past.

Seems simple enough, two bids one gets the job. This is where the double blind process kicks in. A separate review panel, rated the bids in five different categories like capability and cost. The ratings were then placed in a sealed envelope given to the auditor controller. Without knowing the ratings in the various categories, the Board of Supervisors chooses which categories are worth more than the others.

For the final step, Auditor-Controller Leslie Chapman opened the review panel envelope and applied the weight criteria decided on by the Board.

Everybody got that? The review panel rates the proposals and the Supervisors decide how much the ratings count.

The decision is then made without giving any one single person the power to decide which group gets the contract. Its complicated, but in the end the marketing company SMG had more points and won the bid.

Supervisor Richard Cervantes said that he thought the process was flawed because it ended up putting the chamber of commerce up against a professional marketing agency. It seems that there would be an easier way, he said.

Supervisor Susan Cash said that the double blind system worked well to get the perceived politicking out of the process. Supervisor Jim Bilyeu also thought that the process was fair and would lead to the most bang out of the buck, when it comes to advertising the county.

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