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Call center contract let to American Pacific Resources

fili@samoanews.com

American Pacific Resources Inc, based in Carlsbad, Calif, has been awarded a $1.59 million contract for the “Call Centering Training Facility”, a project for the Department of Human Resources to train more than 1,000 for the call center industry in the territory.

Acting chief Procurement Officer Ivy Taufa’asau, in a July 26 award letter, informed the company of being awarded the contract, which totals $1,599, 825.

“The American Samoa Government anticipates good service and the timely completion of this project from American Pacific Resources Inc.,” Taufa’asau wrote to company official Michael McDonald.

Unsuccessful bidders for the project are Honolulu-based American Samoa Services Associates Corporation (ASSAC) and locally based Lavea’i Social Services. Both companies were informed via separate letters - also dated July 26 - that the contract has been awarded to American Pacific Resources.

However, Samoa News received information yesterday that American Pacific Resources was not the primary recommendation by the five-member source evaluation board (SEB), appointed by the Chief Procurement Officer to review the three proposals submitted for the project.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries, Taufa’asau said the SEB scored the proposals submitted by ASSAC and American Pacific were the same — out of the 500 points, each proposal was scored 350 on all the evaluation criteria.

“Since it was a tie, the deciding factor for me to deny the SEB recommendation of award to ASSAC was based on cost/price,” Taufa’asau said, adding that ASSAC’s bid was $5.8 million (or $5,856,294).

Information on Laveai’s bid was not available at press time.

Asked about the procedures for filing a dispute or appeal of the contract decision, she said the contractor could file a dispute with the chief procurement officer (CPO) after award, if the contractor feels differently.

“I am required by law to acknowledge receipt of the dispute within five working days of receipt.  A final decision shall be rendered by the CPO within 30 working days,” she explained. “If the contractor is not satisfied with the CPO's final decision, he/she can file an appeal within 60 days to the Administrative Law Judge.”

McDonald, who is part Samoan from the McMoore family in Utulei, is pleased with the company getting the contract. “We are very grateful for this contract,” said McDonald via cellular phone yesterday afternoon, while on the road heading home to San Diego.

The project, funded in part by grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Emergency Grant (NEG) program following the 2009 earthquake and tsunami, is the Department of Human Resources’ effort to find employment for locally displaced workers following the 2009 tsunami.

According to the request for proposal (RFP) issued last year, the facility — which was to be in place in January this year — was to train some 1,500 American Samoa people to work in the call center industry.

DHR director Evelyn Vaitautolu Langford had told Samoa News in April this year that the delay for the “call center training service is due to ongoing consultation and review with the federal government.”

“…the goal with this type of customized training service is to ensure that the cost per participant has direct outcomes for unsubsidized employment and provides a return on workforce activities investment,” said Langford, adding that the SEB “wants to ensure this training service becomes a model workforce investment project for American Samoa, and has long lasting success in this emerging industry that continues to build on previous efforts in the telecommunications contact services.”

Langford also confirmed that the SEB has sought off-island recommendations for an expert(s) input on call center operations since this industry does not exist currently on island.

According to the RFP, the training facility should be located on Tutuila; be operational within 75 days of the award of the contract; operate for a minimum of eighteen months; provide Call Center training for a minimum of 1,500 people with a priority given to qualified American Samoa National Emergency Grant participants; and show evidence of being able to place its graduates in full-time jobs in the Call Center industry in American Samoa.



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