Government South Orange Towns

South Orange Pulls Plug on Website RFP, Will Seek ‘Proven’ Developer

Two and a half years after awarding a contract to a company to completely redesign its municipal website, South Orange Village has decided to cancel an RFP it issued in January seeking a new developer to overhaul the site.

Making the announcement at Monday’s Board of Trustee’s meeting, Trustee Howard Levison said the BOT would vote to cancel the RFP (request for proposals) at its next meeting, and that the Village would look to a “selection of web companies that will support our web environment.”

Levison elaborated in an email to The Village Green on Tuesday:

“After reviewing the responses to our website RFP, including the customization available from proprietary website designers, and evaluating our needs and our in house capabilities to undertake the technical maintenance of an open source, ‘WordPress’ website, the Village has decided to revisit the specifications and pursue vendors with proven track records in providing government websites together with ongoing technical support, maintenance and upgrades,” said Levison. “A number of the previously submitted proposals remain under consideration, as well as additional quotes under the new revised criteria. We anticipate making an award of a contract, in full compliance with the state purchasing regulations, at our meeting on June 22nd.”

In January, after the township issued the RFP, then-Village President Alex Torpey said the website’s design was nearly completed and that most of what MetaRhythm — the company hired for the redesign in October 2012 — did would be used going forward in the new site.

A working group tasked with investigating the website redesign had originally rejected an open-source content management as too expensive to maintain. “There were a differences of opinion and in fact the RFP was modified to some extent to reflect those differences,” said Levison. “Given the responses and the internal support they impose we recognize that the best solution [is] to pursue vendors with proven track records in providing government websites together with ongoing technical support, maintenance and upgrades.”

Civic Plus, which designed and supports Maplewood’s municipal website, is one of the “many” companies the township is evaluating, Levison said.

The town paid over $11,000 to MetaRhythm to redesign the site. Asked if that money had been wasted, Levison said, “Not totally – it provided us with an understanding of how the site should be laid out including structure of our content and its management.”

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