The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Letters to the Editor

October 9, 2013

CRIS won contract on its merits

I am writing to provide some clarity about CRIS Health Aging Center and its bid to deliver home-delivered and congregate meals throughout east central Illinois in conjunction with the Older Americans Act.

CRIS has delivered meals for 40 years in Vermilion County, in addition to providing a substantial menu of other services for seniors. On a personal level, I have had the opportunity as a senior executive at a local hospital to partner with CRIS on many occasions. I have found its leadership, staff and volunteers to be terrific in terms of their knowledge, compassion and delivery of quality to our elderly citizens.

In addition, I have closely reviewed the request for proposal (RFP) application submitted by both CRIS and the current provider of meals. The CRIS proposal addresses each item in detail with examples of its robust experience and game plan going forward. The current provider’s submission appears to be a warmed-over afterthought of its last application, with no specific requirements addressed.

Even more telling were the final competitive formal presentation materials created and reviewed in front of decision-makers personally in April. The CRIS presentation was a full-blown witness of excellence, including past performance, nutrition detail, efficiencies in delivery in a budget-challenged atmosphere, education component, marketing, partnerships with restaurants and meal sites, and experience in providing the high nutritional quality “frozen” meals required in the RFP.

The presentation was complete with client testimonials, videos of success, legislative support and, in short, a full-court press by an organization hitting on all cylinders. The current provider of services presented a one-page overview. The truth of the matter is, if either the overall proposal, or the grant presentation phase were a Little League game, the 10-run-rule would have been invoked. It wasn’t event close and CRIS was selected because its representatives acted like they wanted the job.

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