BOX 5–3 Balancing Oversight and Collaboration
Balancing vigilant monitoring and oversight with teamwork can appear to be a daunting task for agencies contracting for the first time. Yet examples drawn from the follow-on interviews reveal the importance of striking this balance.
In one case, increasing ridership on a contracted route began to affect the contractor’s on-time performance. In response, the agency adjusted the schedule to allow for additional running time; however, another vehicle and more drivers would be required. Because the contractor was paid on a mileage basis, the change would lead to additional unreimbursed costs. However, in working with the contractor to find a solution to this problem, the agency determined that by adding more trips to the schedule, the contractor would be able to cover most of the additional equipment and labor costs. Both the contractor and agency were satisfied with the result.
In another case, the lack of collaboration was detrimental to both agency and contractor. When a contractor was purchased by a larger company that asked to renegotiate the contract, the agency denied the request. A decline in service quality soon became apparent. In retrospect, both agency and contractor reported that a better solution would have been for the agency to accept early contract termination. Although the contractor would have sacrificed the performance bond, the relationship became increasingly adversarial and untenable.