Shawnee signs on to purchasing program in hopes of lowering costs for services


By Jerry LaMartina

The city of Shawnee is now authorized to participate in The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS), a national cooperative purchasing program for vendor contracts that are awarded through competitive bidding.

The Shawnee City Council unanimously approved a resolution at its Monday night meeting as part of its consent agenda, without discussion, authorizing the city manager to proceed with documentation required for the city to become a member of TIPS.

Membership is free, and the city manager can terminate the city’s membership with 30 days’ notice to TIPS.

According to a Monday memo from Assistant Public Works Director Caitlin Gard to Interim City Manager Vicki Charlesworth, participation in TIPS “can leverage the market share of larger government entities to create savings for the cooperative members.” TIPS makes available to its members a broader range of specialized vendors, contractors and services, and the city anticipates that its membership will lower its costs for vendor services.

The city will use system for materials and services for the Shawnee Civic Centre’s gym floor, budgeted for replacement in 2018, according to the memo. The council will be asked to review that project at a later meeting.

Johnson County is a TIPS member, as are Shawnee County’s parks and recreation departments. The city of Shawnee also participates in other cooperative purchasing agreements, including with the Mid-America Regional Council, Houston Galveston Area Council’s HGAC-Buy and the state of Kansas.

On its website, TIPS lists some of the benefits governmental agencies get from using a purchasing cooperative:

  • Access to competitively procured contracts with quality vendors
  • Savings of time and money required to fulfill bid requirements
  • Assistance with the purchasing process from qualified TIPS staff
  • Access to pricing based on a national, high-profile contract

The organization also gives a partial list of other types of agencies and organizations it serves, in addition to cities and municipalities:

  • K-12 school districts
  • Charter schools
  • Private schools and daycare centers
  • State and private colleges and universities
  • Counties and parishes
  • Churches
  • Charitable organizations
  • State agencies
  • Emergency services districts
  • Other entities with legislated purchasing and bidding requirements

TIPS is managed by and based at the Region 8 Education Service Center in Pittsburg, Texas. It is one of 20 such centers in Texas, which seek to help school districts improve the performance of their students and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their schools’ operations.