In response to DOAS eRFP issue.
If you are wondering what it is you can do right now. We are encouraging you to contact your legislators to inform them of this issue. Please use these talking points when you contact them.
Talking points for discussing the DOAS eRFP with your Georgia State Legislator:
Follow these steps to find your local legislator:
> Go to www.legis.ga.gov
> Left side of the screen – click on “Find your Legislator”
> Type your full address in the SEARCH field at the top of this page (this
> will narrow down to your district, because some cities have more than one
> This will pull up all officials in your area. Look for “State Legislative” (House and Senate)
> Your Representatives will be listed here.
> Click both Representatives and you will see their photo on the right hand column, and underneath their contact information
Note: since the General Assembly is not in session currently, you must find your legislator at their home
offices. Calling then following up with an email or fax will give your legislator something in writing- which they can use to take action.
Discuss this with your legislator and ask them to contact Sid Johnson, the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS). Legislators can send the Commissioner a “constituent request” on behalf of you, their constituent.
If you talk with them about travel time, qualified vs. certified, etc it can be confusing since they do not have a thorough understanding of our profession. Talking about your concerns in a way that they can understand will be more effective. Here are some points that can be used.
Please contact Sid Johnson, the Commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS). As one of your voting constituents, it is vital that you lobby on my behalf in this matter.
1. I am a qualified sign language interpreting here in the State of Georgia and have been a professional in this field for ___ years. I am concerned about a current DOAS contract solicitation out for bid right now for statewide sign language interpreting services.
2. If awarded this will be a mandatory contract or contracts, not a convenience contract. State agencies will have to use the awarded vendors, instead of being able to choose which vendor to use based on who provides the best service. This will restrict access to qualified interpreters.
3. The RFP has many serious flaws, such as:
a. The state is to be divided into regions of service which do not relate to the location of any qualified service providers.
b. The pricing structure that must be followed is not in any way the industry standard that has been in place in Georgia for 25 years- it seems to have been randomly designed and is not based on
any known industry standard.
c. The definition of what qualified interpreter means would allow unqualified signers to be scheduled for interpreting.
d. Unqualified bidders who do not have expertise in sign language will be able to submit bids.
e. No provisions are in the RFP for the working conditions which qualified sign language interpreters need to provide services effectively
f. No references on the bidders are required for this RFP
g. No evidence of financial viability of the bidders is required in the RFP
h. Foreign language companies with no expertise in sign language could be awarded one or more of the mandatory contracts and would be unable to provide qualified sign language interpreters
4. Because of how this RFP is structured, it will be very difficult for interpreters to accept work under the resulting conditions. Therefore it will be very difficult for Georgians who are Deaf to get truly qualified interpreters when they are needed as required by ADA Federal law to access state services.
5. This could lead to legitimate lawsuits from Deaf people in Georgia who are denied access on the basis of their disability.
6. There is no need for this solicitation. The sign language interpreting business is a professional service, thus qualified sign language interpreters and sign language interpreting companies are already providing services across the state. State entities in many areas are using these qualified interpreters. The state entities who are not yet doing this and need to provide accessibility using
qualified sign language interpreters can be given information on available resources they can use since the entities themselves are responsible to order and pay for these services as needed.
7. I don’t believe this eRFP can be fixed- it needs to be canceled.