[rfc-i] Who decides on the contracts

Bob Hinden bob.hinden at gmail.com
Tue Jan 4 13:06:17 PST 2011


On Jan 4, 2011, at 12:04 PM, Paul Hoffman wrote:

> Greetings again. The model-v2-overview-00 and v2-motivations-00 drafts specify how the Production Center and Publisher contracts are reviewed and re-issued. The overview draft says:
>   RFC Publisher and RFC Production Center contractors are recommended
>   by the Series Editor and IAOC after an open RFP process, and approved
>   by the IAB.
> The motivations draft says:
>   [I-D.v2-overview] does not call for any change in the chartered
>   responsibilities of the IAOC.  It does explicitly propose to have the
>   RSE (as the resident editorial and publications expert) join the IAOC
>   when it is reviewing contractor performance, re-issuing of contracts,
>   preparing requests for proposals, and reviewing bids.
> The use of the words "and" and "join" make it sound like the two bodies (the RSE and the IAOC) will have equal weight in the decision and/or will have to come to the same conclusion. However, the two bodies have very different motivations and therefore could easily disagree. For instance, the RSE could want to renew a contract in order to make his life easier while the IAOC might want to bring in a bidder who was less expensive and lower cost; conversely, the RSE might want to get rid of the current contractor because of friction and the IAOC might want to renew that contract because they feel the other bidders cannot perform as well as they say they will.
> It is inappropriate to have two bodies with very different motivations "join" to make such contract decisions. The model should choose one or the other to be the deciding body. Both choices are viable under different assumptions (the "strong manager" vs. the "series administrator" roles), but a specification that they must agree can easily lead to a deadlock that would have a very negative effect on the publication of RFCs.

I agree with your concerns.  

I think the IAOC should be the responsible body, as defined in BCP101, to issue RFPs, review the bids, and make a decision on who to award the contract.  The IAOC would ask the IAB to confirm the decision.  

This has been done twice in the past.  The first time the contract was awarded to ISI (for RFC-Editor services prior to the new model) and the second time to AMS (for the publisher and production center under the new model).  There were multiple bids in both cases.  I think the process worked well and don't see any need for major changes.  The IAOC selected the most qualified bidder in both cases and RFC production continued with no disruption.  

The IAOC creates a subcommittee for RFPs that includes people with the expertise and stake holders.  It is not just IAOC members.  The subcommittee would write the RFP, review and interview bidders, and make a recommendation to the IAOC.  The IAOC then makes a decision.  The change I would make is to add the RSE to this subcommittee.  This would insure that the RSE was directly involved in the process and his/her concerns taken into account.  The decision would be made by the IAOC and confirmed by the IAB.


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