August 2011

One size fits all is a pretty common marketing slogan. After all, who wouldn’t want to buy something that covers just about every application you’d need the product or service to cover, right? Well, not right — not all the time anyway.

Unfortunately there’s a streamlining process going on right now in New York State that likely will make purchasing a truck with accessories off state contract a whole lot more difficult than it needs to be. The Comptroller’s office and OGS want to streamline the process when spec’ing out trucks and their accessories. Now details are scarce and much of what the state wants to do is speculation at best at the moment, but prevailing belief is that the state will make two or relatively few more trucks available on state contract. So if the truck you need is not one of those “standard” options, you’re not buying it off state contract — you’re spec’ing it out yourself and then having to go through the bureaucracies.

Now, everybody has had cutbacks because of the economy and speculation is that the State just wants to make things easier for itself. But a one-size-fits-all rule will make things a heck of a lot more difficult on superintendents, who also have had their share of cutbacks, as you all are painfully aware. And if these rules go into effect, buying trucks will become a much more time-consuming venture, if the one you need isn’t on contract.

New York State doesn’t work in a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to trucks. This state is among the most geographically diverse ones in the country. What will work for Long Island isn’t going to work for the Adirondacks and so on. Of course there are other issues involved with this, as you know, more than this space allows us to get into.

The New York State Association of Town Superintendents of Highways is working very hard to get to the bottom of this. Look in the next issue of Superintendent’s Profile for important updates on this situation.

And finally, believe it or not, the annual New York State Highway & Public Works Expo is right around the corner. Look in the September issue of Superintendent’s Profile (next month) for details about the October show in Syracuse. P

You can also view previous issues of Superintendent's Profile.