NIGP Executive Board: A Forced Silence?

Posted on August 8, 2016


While we continue to work diligently to secure a copy of the NIGP forensic audit through Florida’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), there are a number of questions regarding both the executives on the NIGP Board, as well as the NIGP’s current sponsors.

Reports suggest that the audit, which contains a review of the NIGP’s business practices, highlighted several areas of potential problems within the non-profit association’s operations. In this regard, the efforts of the NIGP’s legal counsel to deter me from attempting to obtain a copy of the forensic audit – you can read about it in my April 6th, 2016 post NIGP Counsel: Non-profit organization will not release the findings from the forensic audit . . . – raises a red flag.

What is in the report that they do not want the public to see?

This brings us back to my reference to the questions being raised concerning the NIGP Executive Board and sponsors.

Specifically, and knowing that the members of the NIGP Board have received a copy of the report, how can they remain silent given its findings, and the corresponding #CodeGate coverage?

NIGP Governing Board 2016

  • Jack Adger, CPPO, CPPB – Chair

  • Michael E. Bevis, CPPO, JD, CPSM, C.P.M., PMP – Chair-Elect

  • Taylor V. Adams, CPPO – Treasurer

  • Donald G. Buffum, CPPO

  • Jeff Cobb – Thought Leader

  • Keith K. Glatz, CPPO, FCPM, FCPA

  • Stephanie Osborn – Thought Leader

  • Denise K. Schneider, CPPO, CPPB, C.P.M.

  • William P. Shields, Jr. – Thought Leader

  • Miriam Singer, CPPO

  • Rick L. Grimm, CPPO, CPPB – Secretary/NIGP CEO

For example, let’s look at Donald Buffum, who is the Director, Procurement & Contracts for Mississippi State University.

Donald Buffum

The Mississippi Public Universities Accountability and Transparency website page’s opening paragraph reads as follows:

“The Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL) is committed to accountability and transparency for students, parents, faculty and staff, and taxpayers. This accountability and transparency website is a tangible example of that commitment and offers all stakeholders access to important information quickly and easily. All stakeholders play a key role in the success of the university system and help us fulfill our tri-fold mission of education, research and service.”

The website talks about the commitment to “accountability and transparency” and providing “all stakeholders access to important information quickly and easily.”

I have no doubt that Mr. Buffum believes in the need for accountability and transparency. Yet in his role with the NIGP, and the release of the report’s findings, he remains silent.

How about Jack Adger?

Jack Adger.jpg

Mr. Adger is the Chief Procurement Officer for the Bossier Parrish School Board.

Bossier Parrish uses the eGovernance BoardDocs platform which, among other benefits, increases transparency.

I am also of the opinion that Mr. Adger believes that transparency and accountability is important.

But he as well, remains silent. Why?

In either instance, it can’t be by choice?

While I haven’t yet checked out the other members of the NIGP Board, I would assume that all would be employed with organizations who share a similar view regarding the importance of transparency.

So why are these dedicated, experienced procurement professionals not saying or doing anything regarding the report’s findings?

Even though they may be manacled by a non-disclosure agreement, surely serving the best interests of their profession and the industry as a whole, takes precedence? Surely, and in the face of a possible conflict of interest, the pursuit of the truth carries a greater obligation than an imposed silence?

In short, we need to know the truth, because it serves the best interest of all stakeholders – including taxpayers. Particularly because of the influence and reach of the NIGP.

As is my practice, I will be reaching out to each of these individuals over the coming days and weeks for their comment.

In my next post, I will talk about the problems that the NIGP’s sponsors could potentially face, if the association continues to refuse to release the study’s findings.

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