Press Release

City and Local Governments May Save as Much as $50 Million Through Conference's New Computer Procurement Program

August 28, 2000
Justin O'Brien
Extended Coverage

  • USCM Press Release: Conference Office Supplies Procurement Program Now Available Throughout Texas (10/18/00)
  • Read coverage from ("Governments Piggyback for IT Savings") and the Atlanta Journal Constitution ("Government Units Get PC Price Breaks").
  • Washington, DC --The U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance (GPA) announces a new IT procurement program that could save cities and counties as much as $50 million on technology purchases.

    The GPA is jointly sponsored by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National Institute for Governmental Purchasing (NIGP). The new program allows city and other local governments to buy computers and other high-tech equipment directly from such leaders in the computer industry as IBM, DELL, Gateway, MicronPC, CompUSA, Comark and Software Spectrum. Using Fairfax County, VA as its lead public agency, the alliance recently signed a contract setting the prices that the program will make available.

    The program is expected to generate $100 million in sales this year and over $500 million in sales over the next three years. This could represent a savings to local governments of over $50 million within a two-year period. The GPA saves cities and local governments money by pooling the purchasing power of local governments and achieving bulk volume discounts. This is accomplished by having a large jurisdiction (in the case of this most recent GPA contract, Fairfax County) seek bids on specific products and commodities. Based on the expected volume, the prices on those products are cut drastically, providing great savings to city and local government buyers. Any city, county or other local government, where allowed by state law, can then purchase those products at the reduced price.

    J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director of USCM, notes the program's value in improving cost and operating efficiency in city and municipal governments today. "As today's Mayors are seen more and more as the Chief Executive Officers of America's cities and towns, they devise and seek out best practices and better, more efficient ways to operate. The U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance is a nuts and bolts management tool that facilitates just that. The result is more efficient and cost-effective service delivery and reduced management costs while providing greater benefit to taxpayers and freeing up resources to enhance constituent services."

    This new computer technology purchasing program is the second phase of the GPA's effort to improve the purchasing power of local governments nationwide. The alliance already offers an office supplies program through Office Depot that has saved local governments $35 million in 1999 and the alliance has more than 10,000 standing accounts in 5,500 public jurisdictions. In the past three years, local governments have saved over $50 million in office supplies purchases. The GPA also offers Office Furniture and Electrical and Communications Supplies.

    "The integration of high technology to procurement activities is critical to the continued growth and prosperity of America's cities," adds Wellington Webb, Mayor of Denver and immediate Past President of USCM. "The addition of these computer companies to the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance program serves this purpose perfectly. It allows for both greater value for money for taxpayers and city constituents at the municipal level, and contributes to continued economic growth and efficiency in America's cities while assisting continued growth and development in America's high-tech industry."

    "The Office Depot and Graybar Electric programs provide great savings with reduced product and management costs in city purchasing operations. The new computer technology program and additional vendors will continue and greatly enhance that trend."

    "This is an excellent program," said NACo President and King County (WA) Councilmember Jane Hague. "It helps local officials do more with less, exactly what our taxpayers are demanding. We are doing it in a twenty-first century way, using technology of course."

    "County and other local governments are always looking for ways to provide better service without increasing the cost to residents," said Javier Gonzales, NACo President-Elect and Commissioner of Santa Fe County (NM). "This program will enable governments to accomplish that goal. The savings that counties and cities have realized through the Office Depot program is a perfect example."

    Local governments will save in two primary ways when purchasing through the GPA's computer technology program. Firstly, savings are realized by not having to go through a bidding process each time there's a need to purchase computers and computer products as the contracts have already been competitively bid by a local government. Secondly, GPA's pricing is superior. Pricing will be at or below Government Services Administration levels.

    The new GPA program also benefits its corporate partners. The first phase of the program, which allowed local governments to buy office supplies at reduced prices from Office Depot, has seen skyrocketing sales. Office Depot reports sales of approximately $16,700,000 in 1997, $35,400,000 in 1998, and $75,800,000 in 1999. In other words, Office Depot's sales to local governments quadrupled in the space of two years through the U.S. Communities GPA program.

    Now, the GPA computer purchasing program will allow technology firms to tap into this growing market. Local governments spend approximately $800 billion each year (according to 1992 U.S. Census figures).

    "This is a great opportunity for Dell and all the firms involved in the program," said David Forsythe, Dell's Vice President and General Manager of State and Local Government. "We welcome the chance to work with local governments. This program allows us to save time, resources and money because we do not have to re-bid to every local government. This increased efficiency translates into savings that we can then pass on to our customers."

    "We're proud to be part of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance for local governments," said Jay Lambke, Vice President of Government Sales, Gateway Business. "This program is an excellent way for local government agencies to obtain IT solutions from top-tier manufacturers while pooling their resources to save time and money."

    The GPA's computer purchasing program is immediately available to city and local governments nationwide. The program was first launched as a pilot with members of the GPA's Advisory Board which is comprised of twelve City and County Purchasing Directors and Agents from across the country. The Advisory Board includes the cities of Baltimore, MD; Chicago, IL; Denver, CO; Fort Wayne, IN.; Houston, TX and Seattle, WA and the following counties: Fairfax County, Va.; Los Angeles County, CA; Hennepin County, MN; Orange County, FL; Erie County, NY and Santa Clara County, CA.

    The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are over 1,100 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.

    Co-sponsored by USCM and NACo, The U.S. Communities Purchasing and Finance Agency is a non-profit instrumentality of government which organizes the collective purchasing power of government agencies nationwide.

    For more information about USCM's public procurement program, the US Communities Government Purchasing Alliance visit the Conference's GPA Program Information Center at