Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Score for Independent MPS in Idaho! Oops Big X. No more shooting fish in a barrel.

Since they've got on my radar, I've been following On August 5, I posted this. On July 31, I posted this. Then today I got this in my email.
“Xippa says the District is making the right decision by re-evaluating the situation. It is great to see the District not back its previous decision with a process defense. The proper thing to do is to gather the facts, check the relationships at the door and then make the right decision.”
Which lead me to this:

Idaho School District Pulls Back Copier Contract

BOISE, Idaho — The largest school district in the state has recanted on a decision last month to award a contract paying Xerox Corp. more than $43,700 a month for copier services.

The board that governs the Meridian School District voted Tuesday night to restart the bidding process after an Idaho copier company complained, saying its contract would have saved taxpayers $680,000 over five years.

"It's a victory of sorts," said Gary Mahn, chairman of Fisher's Document Systems Inc. "They're not going ahead with the award to Xerox, which we felt was not justified."

Earlier this year, Mahn's Boise-based company bid about $32,417 per month to provide more than 120 copiers to the school district in southwest Idaho for 60 months.

To be clear.
I feel bad for the hardworking sales person on the ground who thought they had a done deal only to see it evaporate. On the other hand I feel good for Gary Mahn of Fisher's Document System. It also should be a lesson to Corporate Xerox and Independents that when the funny money runs out and there is a new sheriff in town the rules change.

The nimble and agile have the advantage over the slow and corporate.

Go David!
Get with the program Xerox!

Full disclosure: Long on Xerox. No interest in


  1. Gary Mahn, of Fishers, is trying to show he is so concerned with the taxpayer's money. Mr. Mahn boasts of his company being an Idaho company . . . an Idaho company who would provide the District with Chinese made copier equipment. Xerox is an American company using American made products. Fishers could not provide everything required when they presented their proposal, whereas, Xerox did. It's interesting Mr. Mahn has used his influence on State School Superintendent, Tom Luna, who has contacted the school district on Mr. Mahn’s behalf, not to mention legislators who have visited Meridian School District Superintendent, Dr. Linda Clark's office to ‘persuade’ her to award the copier contract to Mr. Mahn's company. Sounds like a sore loser - one who seems to know a lot of high ranking people to pressure the District for him, and make it sound like he's doing the taxpayers a favor for challenging the District's decision. Maybe Mr. Mahn has political aspirations and this would be a nice, big feather in his hat. If their proposal didn't meet the District's requirements, they should accept and respect the District‘s decision. Xerox was selected because their proposal showed they could provide everything the District needs and Mr. Mahn's company could not. I guess when you have power, know powerful people and have clever lawyers to yell loudly to the media, you get the attention you want. Taxpayers should look under the rug and see the dirt. If members of the Meridian School Board fold under the pressure of Mr. Mahn and his cronies, what a shame. Could it be that Mr. Mahn is a close 'pal' with one of them too!!!!!

  2. Anon,

    Interesting points. You're probably right that Mr. Mahn's company used its personal connections to get the deal reviewed. It also might be true that Mr. Mahn has political ambitions.

    But from what I've read I can't figure out how that affects the fact that $9000 of Idaho taxpayer money would be better spent on teachers than on copiers.

    You say "Xerox was selected because their proposal showed they could provide everything the District needs". That means the District knows exactly what they need. Sorry but I don't buy that part. The District knows what they want, but they probably don't know what they need.

    "Copiers" have become so powerful and the software that ties them together is so amazing that what they can do is just being invented. To figure out what a district needs means an expert talking to teachers talking to adminstrators to get just the right system for just the right situation.

    I'm retired so I have the luxury of day dreaming about what a "copier" system could do. I see a way that textbooks could be replaced by one sheeters that are produced on the copier system. Or a way that student's work could be published on the "copier" systems. Or a way to use copiers to make sure the kids do their homework.

    But as I said, I have the luxury of day dreaming. In any case, investing the $9000 a month difference in teachers rather than copiers is well worth a second look.

  3. Just wanted to add one more thought. You say "Xerox is an American company using American made products."

    In my opinion no global corporation is an "American" company. My day job is managing my IRA. Xerox has always been a core part of my IRA. Xerox has an awesome tradition and awesome people,

    But globals are in business. Even if they wanted to, they have no choice but to find the most efficient ways of producing stuff and the best markets to sell that stuff. My understanding is that most the office machines that Xerox sells are porduced in Asia, not in the US. The really growing markets for Xerox, as for most globals are not in the United States, they are in places like Brazil, Russia, China, India and the Middle East.

    Mr. Mahn's company lives and dies in Idaho. If he has poltical ambitions that's all to the good, in my opinion. If the copiers he sells to the District screw up, he is most definitely going to hear about it from a political opponent.

    I don't know, but I would assume that Mr. Mahn's company is family owned. Family owned companies where the boss lives in the community he serves take care of their people. Through good times and bad.

    Globals don't have that luxury. We're watching how that's working out all over America since the global financial system broke in September.

    There's an outfit called Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, you might want to check out. Here's the link:

  4. MJ
    I think we all would agree that we want what is best for our schools, teachers and students. You say that it is more important to spend $9,000 on teachers than copiers. When is the last time you worked in a school and observed the teachers, secretaries and administrators in the daily operation of a school, not to mention the administration offices? Copiers are a huge part of keeping your children’s and grandchildren’s education process moving. Yes, they do know what they need – it’s not simply what they want. If they simply went with what they want, now that would be a waste of taxpayer money. The Meridian School District was able to avoid any teachers being laid off during this economic crisis and they need to be applauded for this. Working in the education field, I am looking at this from the inside out and know without quality office equipment; especially copiers, our classrooms, libraries and offices would be greatly affected. This is the reason those who bid for the copier contract were specifically asked to include certain criteria in their proposals. Fisher’s did not follow the explicit bidding instructions and fell short in these critical areas as did some of the other companies. Now, due to their pressure on the District, they are able to see where they and other companies fell short and make adjustments. Big corporation or not, Xerox is not being treated fairly in this instance. We may just have to agree to disagree, but I am on the side of Xerox and not a company using bullying tactics to get their way, and playing on the taxpayer’s emotions regarding $9,000. The dollar amount wasn’t just the difference in the bid total, but represented what is needed and could be provided throughout the District – yes, I said needed.
    You mentioned you thought Fisher’s was a family owned business, but I find nothing that supports this. Yes, it is an Idaho company, but that should not become a deciding factor when awarding a copier contract for the school district. It is too important. It is also my understanding that the majority of Xerox equipment IS produced in the U.S., but I will certainly investigate this further.

  5. Just to be clear. I agree that the right copiers and MFPs are critical to a school district. In fact I think they should be used alot more than alot less.

    The thing is there are so many more efficient ways to exceed the expectations based on old technology.

    In any case, thanks for sharing your thoughts and stopping by the blog to visit.