George J. Cronin was the State Purchasing Agent for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts from 1925 to 1957, serving under 11 different governors. He was known as a trail blazer in the public procurement field and established the ground rules and operative procedures for centralized procurement within the Commonwealth. He was the first president of NASPO and is the namesake of the NASPO Cronin Club and the annual George Cronin Award for Procurement Excellence.
NASPO was founded in 1947 at a meeting of state purchasing officials in Chicago, Illinois. The meeting was originally designed to seek ways and means for states to secure property distributed under the Surplus War Property Disposal Act of 1944. While at the meeting, Cronin urged the formation of an ongoing, formal organization of state purchasing officials as an effective vehicle to address specific public procurement issues and provide a network for resolving problems. The other attendees agreed and elected Cronin as president. He remained active in NASPO activities after his retirement in 1957.
The Cronin Club evolved from an idea presented by John Dyer of Maine to form an organization of NASPO past presidents and name it after Mr. Cronin. The group met for the first Cronin Club Luncheon at the NASPO Annual Conference in 1970. In 1974, the Cronin Club opened the luncheon to any NASPO member who wished to participate instead of restricting attendance to the past presidents and it became an established feature of the NASPO Annual Conference.
The Cronin Club decided to sponsor a “cost reduction” incentive program in 1977. This created interest among the states and encouraged them to share cost saving ideas with other states. The program has evolved over the past 30 years and adapted to the changing procurement landscape. The George Cronin Award for Procurement Excellence is recognized as a premier achievement for innovative public procurement and pays homage to a founder and the first president of NASPO for his devotion to improving governmental purchasing.
SEVERAL STATES HONORED FOR PROCUREMENT EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION
LEXINGTON, KY – October 11, 2016 – The National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) presented its annual George Cronin Awards at its national conference last month in Minneapolis. The awards recognize innovation and efficiency in state procurement.
The state of Tennessee’s Department of General Services received the Gold, highest honor in the competition. Tennessee’s award recognized the state’s effort to streamline its awarding of radio contracts. The state consolidated multiple contracts into a single, innovative contract that allows for technology evolution without contract amendment, and balances user needs while ensuring highly competitive pricing. The effort has saved the state $2.5 million since the effort began in 2014.
“We had an opportunity to enhance public service, provide up to date technology and save the state money in the process,” said Richard Kotler, Category Specialist with the state’s Department of General Services.
The Silver or Second Place Cronin Award was presented to the state of Wisconsin for its IT Procurement Best Practices Playbook. The playbook offers a new approach to professional development in state procurement and is an innovative way to address procurement reform. Several football themed “plays” in the book address cost savings such as “Don’t Let the Anchor Drag You Down,” and “Sandbag (Excessive) Revenue Streams.”
The Third Place winner was the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which partnered with neighboring states Connecticut, New York, and Vermont to re-bid their environmentally preferable cleaning products and programs. While green cleaning products were traditionally more expensive, the effort generated discounts to the buyers of an average 20 percent. For example, a $9 million contract, would reflect average savings to the state of $1.9 million per year.
The State of Wisconsin was recognized as an additional finalist for its state employee training program on negotiation skills. The state developed a one-day interactive negotiation course that teaches elements of planning, techniques “at the table,” and the closing phases of negotiation. In addition to the professional development of purchasing officers, the program has saved the state more than $41,000 in training costs.
Additionally, NJSTART, a state of the art eprocurement system developed and implemented by the state of New Jersey earlier this year was also recognized as a finalist. NJSTART has already attracted more than 13, 000 vendors and has consolidated all procurement activities into a one-stop shop. The state estimates that NJSTART will reduce the state’s purchasing costs from $1.2 million per year to $875,000.
The Cronin Award serves as a means to disseminate and to encourage adoption of breakthrough initiatives by other states. In this way, Cronin awardees and finalists create opportunities for improving the procurement function nationwide.
Gold Award Winner, State of Tennessee: Tourist Development - Marketing and Advertising
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Silver Award Winner, State of Minnesota: Minnesota's MMCAP Focus Data Analytics System - View Webinar
Bronze Award Winner, State of New York: New York State Vehicle Marketplace - View Webinar
Finalist, State of Ohio: Ohio Waste Management Program - View Webinar
Finalist, State of Delaware: Maximizing Fleet Resources and Streamlining Operations - View Webinar