What was the end result of the NIGP #CodeGate Story? Internal Audit may provide the answers

Posted on March 24, 2016


Have you ever stared at one of those posters in an effort to see the hidden picture?

CodeGate Hidden Picture

I still haven’t been able to see the above image

The key to being able to see the image is to relax your eyes. The reason is fairly straight forward, the more you try to see something, the more you strain your eyes searching for an outline of the unseen, the less likely you are to see the true picture.

I believe that the same can be said for the NIGP #CodeGate story.

Within the collective flurry of information originating with a number of key sources, an as yet to be defined picture was taking shape. These points or brushstrokes of insight in and of themselves were interesting, and certainly thought-provoking. But, beyond these individual disclosures and revelations, what was the big picture?

Having had the opportunity to relax my scrutinizing eyes through the passing of months since my last #CodeGate post, the answer or answers, may be found in an audit, and the recommendations of a Pierson Grant report.

Before we get to the audit and Pierson Grant report, for which I will be requesting a copy of each through what is known has The Open Records Law in Florida (pages 31 and 32), I think that it is important to understand how (and why) the audit and report came about.

By the way, I chose to use Florida’s Open Records Law for two reasons; 1) Florida requires the NIGP to annually sign a form indicating that the organization will comply with Florida public documents law, and 2) the highest concentration of NIGP membership is based in Florida, thus giving the request greater weight and significance.

CodeGate Open Records Law

The Hidden Picture Takes Shape?

Through my usual investigative process, I was able to obtain copies of the minutes from the NIGP’s Board of Directors Meetings held on April 24th, 2015 and June 11th, 2015, as well as the agenda for the July 16th, 2015 Governing Board meeting. All by the way are now available through the following links on SlideShare: #CodeGate NIGP April 2015 Minutes, #CodeGate NIGP June 2015 Minutes, and #CodeGate NIGP July 2015 Minutes.

As you will note, I have highlighted the relevant pages from these documents relating specifically to #CodeGate.

For example, Page 2: 1B and Page 3: Point 2 in the April document indicate the following:

Page 2: 1B – The Business Council shared its concerns regarding recent press NIGP has received. Council members shared practices that their entities have in common to avoid poor public relations:

  • Communications policies
  • Ongoing advertising/press releases
  • Sharing details with stakeholders

The Council requested the Board issue a confidential memo to the stakeholders on NIGP’s plan to move forward. The Council suggested the plan include an investigation into the original issue prior to further spread of the story.

Page 3: Point 2 – President Buffum and Rick Grimm provided an overview of the NIGP/ Periscope relationship, growing from licensing to consultancy.

Rick Grimm announced Perfect Commerce has cured their contract issues and NIGP continues to work with the State of Missouri to reach a conclusion.

Rick Grimm suggested the board consider an independent study or a task force to determine the best course moving forward. In the meantime, NIGP has contracted with Pierson Grant on a short-term basis for guidance.

Savannah Whaley of PG and Chad Quinn, NIGP Marketing staff, joined a conference call with the board, providing key take-aways for the Board members and NIGP:

  • Create talking points
  • Speak to the issues without directly challenging
  • Terminate the crisis
  • Minimize damage
  • Restore Credibility by raising attention to positive stories
  • Identify stakeholders and audience
  • If errors have occurred, admit, accept, remedy

The Board agreed to:

  • Contact Business Council partners and provide talking points relating to the value of NIGP.
  • Add talking points to regional calls
  • Hire an independent audit firm to review NIGP relationships: a) Ron Blendermann and Mike Bevis agreed to prepare the RFP b) Jack Adger would find appropriate list of entities

Based on what appears to be serious concerns regarding my coverage of the #CodeGate story and the questions it had raised, the NIGP took proactive measures in the form of considering an independent study and/or the establishment of a task force to determine the best course for moving forward.

The NIGP also hired Pierson Grant, a Fort Lauderdale, Florida public relations firm, for guidance on how to deal with the growing crisis.

June 2015 Board of Directors Meeting

On Page 2: 4A of the June 2015 Board of Directors Meeting, the following update regarding the audit was provided:

President Buffum provided an update of the independent audit, highlighting:

  • The RFP is complete and a company has been selected
  • The audit company is working with a legal firm to maintain confidentiality
  • Many documents have already been provided
  • Interviews are being scheduled
  • The report is due July 1

July 2015 NIGP Governing Board Agenda

In what was the final posting of Meeting Minutes for 2015, Page 1: 4A of the July Governing Board Agenda reported the following:

Chairman Glatz announced that the forensic audit report had been received and there would be an Executive Session held next Wednesday with the auditors. All directors will receive a copy of the report after receipt of a signed NDA. All reports will be shipped to the auditors during Forum by the Chair.


At this point, I can only speculate as to why the results of the audit – as well as the corresponding Pierson Grant recommendation, have not been made public during the 8 months following their submission. However, one thing is certain . . . within their respective pages we are likely to find the answers to the questions that the NIGP #CodeGate coverage originally raised, starting with the first of 48 posts on December 11th, 2014 – Up Periscope? Examining Periscope’s acquisition of BidSync with a “Survivor’s” eye

Stay tuned.

By the way, you can use the following link to access the complete NIGP #CodeGate Post Archive; https://procureinsights.wordpress.com/nigp-codegate/

You can also follow my coverage of this story on Twitter using the hashtags #missbid and #CodeGate