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 user 2009-03-13 at 12:33:54 pm Views: 72
  • #21471
    WA state agency pays 10 times more per photocopy
    SEATTLE – Photocopying and printing at state agencies cost taxpayers millions. So why is the Governor’s budget pushing for a contract that costs ten times more per copy and charges departments for services that are currently offered for free?The Independent Business Association is crying foul on the copying services contract put out by the State Department of Printing.Under the contract, the Department of Ecology pays four cents per copy and must pay for 950,000 copies a month, whether it prints that many or not. Last December, Ecology was billed $15,493 for copies it never made.”Multiply that month after month agency by agency, you’re talking real money. It’s not nickels and dimes, it’s significant money!” declared Gary Smith of the Independent Business Association.Ecology also pays a $981 management fee to the Department of Printing every month.

    That compares to the Department of General Administration contract which pays just 4-tenths of a cent per copy, has no monthly management fee and no monthly minimum.”It’s pay as you go,” explains Dean Hartman of Capital Business Machines in Olympia, who services the copier contract for the General Administration. “If they run a lot one month they pay more, if they run a little, they pay a little and if they don’t run any, like schools, they don’t pay at all because school’s out two months of the year.”The Department of Printing also charges departments to assess their printing needs, something the General Administration gets vendors to do for free. The Department of Printing says it wants a neutral assessment.

    Pam Derkacht, Assistant Director of Customer Services for the Department of Printing says, “It’s really easy for any agency or any large organization to want to take the free assessment but it always results in “You need more equipment or you need newer, upgraded equipment.”The Department of Printing billed agencies $50,000 for assessments done by Oki Data and Lexmark — companies that sell copiers and printers.

    The vendor eventually selected is based in Oregon. .
    “This is not a good deal for the taxpayer,” says Hartman, shaking his head. “No matter how good a director feels this is, it’s not a good deal and it’s my (tax) money!”

    The Governor’s proposed budget would make the Printing Office’s contract the standard for all state agencies. But some lawmakers question the cost of 4 cents per copy.”I mean they might as well go send somebody out to Kinko’s to do it, ” said State Representative Ross Hunter (D-Medina). He is the House Finance Chairman. “I think there are some benefits to centralizing, but this is not one of them.”