Top Public Sector Procurement Expert: Santa Clara $2 Million KPMG Extension Makes No Sense

Posted on March 15, 2017


I must admit that I am not often stumped by what happens in the world of procurement. Surprised yes, disappointed without question, but outright stumped rarely.

Unfortunately or fortunately – depending on your perspective, what is happening in Santa Clara regarding the $2 million KPMG extension is one of those rare moments.

In times like these, I consider myself fortunate to know people like Stephen Bauld.

To many, Stephen is considered to be the Bill Gates of the public sector procurement world. While I may not have immediately thought of him in that context, I do know this; Stephen not only has the credentials but the track record to divine the most obfuscating situations to get to the truth.

What prompted me to talk to him at length by telephone today was an article he had written back in October 2015 titled PROCUREMENT PERSPECTIVES: Municipal outsourcing gains traction.

In my efforts to try and make some sense of what was is going on in Santa Clara, I reached out to him to get his take. Is the County, for example, looking to outsource their procurement function to KPMG? Are they contemplating a change in the way the County currently procures goods and services?

While outsourcing is not a likely option, one thing that is clear to Stephen; the additional $2 million that is going to be paid to KPMG makes absolutely no sense. Or as he put it, there is no amount of service or insight that KPMG – or any consulting firm for that matter, can provide that would come close to justifying not just the additional $2 million, but the total $3.3 million that the County will spend.

It has been said that timing is everything. It just so happens that Stephen will be traveling to California next week, and he has offered to meet with Santa Clara officials to review both the findings to date, as well as the scope of the work that KPMG will be performing for the added $2 million.

If I were Santa Clara County, I would meet with him. Refusing to do so would be similar to telling Bill Gates that you are not interested in meeting with him to review your software company’s business plan.

I do not know many people that would refuse Bill’s offer. Santa Clara would be foolish to refuse Stephen’s.

Bill Gates