Improving the Town of Chapel Hill's Website

I just got this today in the Chapel Hill eNews (town email list). Its the details of how a vendor must register to get RFP (Request For Proposal) information about rebuilding the Towns website. Vendors you have two weeks to register.

8. Vendors Wanted for Web Site Redevelopment

The Town of Chapel Hill will be issuing a "Request for Proposals" (RFP) to obtain hosting services and support from qualified firms for the Town's web site redevelopment project. Vendors interested in submitting proposals in response to the Town's RFP must register their intentions via e-mail no later than April 18, 2008.

Proposals from unregistered vendors will not be accepted. To successfully register, submit all of the following information:

Vendors will receive an e-mail confirmation of successful registration. The RFP process, including registration, will be conducted through the Internet and email. For complete information, see the project web site at

Periodic updates will be sent to the e-mail address supplied in the registration request including notice when the RFP is posted on the project web site. Full details regarding dates, procurement status, policies and procedures are provided in the RFP.

No pre-proposal information conference will be scheduled. Questions may be submitted through the link on the project web site. Answers to questions will be issued in addenda that will be posted on the project web site.

Please carefully read the terms and conditions specified in the RFP to ensure compliance with registration and submission requirements.

  • Company Name
  • Contact Name (Single point of contact)
  • E-mail Address of Contact
  • Firm Address (Street, City, State and Zip Code)
  • Phone Numbers (Office, Fax and Cell)
  • in an e-mail with the Subject "Registration" to:

This is a huge opportunity for a total rethink of how we interact with our local government via the Internet. The priority must be on facilitating effective two way communication. NOT creating a pretty postcard website. A strong eDemocracy strategy must be considered this time.

Almost three years ago we discussed the "Extreme"-ly dubious makeover that the Town of Chapel Hill website got. Before that the, now defunct, technology committee gave copious recommendations and advice on how the website should be done. Now the new paid technology consultant for the Town says a new website is on the top of everyone's list for a fix. (Shock! Surprise!) Here is yet another opportunity to do it right.

What do you want your local governments to do with their your websites?


Is it common to require prior registration to bid before the RFP is issued? I'm on a couple of listservs on which RFPs for municipal websites get forwarded along every so often, and I've never seen one limited to pre-registered vendors. Considering the vast number of local web design firms, I wonder if some wouldn't like to read through the request before they decide whether or not to consider bidding on it. Without knowledge of the scale and scope of the proposal the town is looking for, how is a business/consultant able to consider whether or not they should pursue the contract? Granted, registering isn't exactly the world's largest hurdle, but I'm unclear on how it benefits the process.
What you're questioning here, Jason, isn't a gatekeeping practice but a bureaucratic step. All big corporations/ entitites, including municipalities (Carrboro too), register their vendors and contractors for EOE purposes. It does seem like an employer the size of Chapel Hill could simply package the EOE form with the RFP. I'd be interested in seeing the RFP myself.
I was hinting more at the latter part of what you said. Obviously I don't have a problem with this information being collected, I'm just unclear on how the process benefits from this being a separate step than submitting a proposal. If I ran a basement web design outfit, how would I know whether or not to take the time to register without first seeing the RFP to judge whether it is within the scope of something my business could provide? I don't think this is such a problem for things like bids on buses, office supplies, construction, etc., where there is a high barrier to entry already and most firms who would bid are familiar with municipal contracting procedures. But web development is an entirely different beast: little to no cost of entry, small firms being able to manage seemingly huge projects, and in this particular case, it would be an excellent opportunity to award a contract to a local business and promote the kinds of creative class jobs we seem to want to promote here. Why make it more complex than necessary?
The Town Manager in his budget presentation just said they have put down $125,000 for fixing the Town's website.

Community Guidelines

By using this site, you agree to our community guidelines. Inappropriate or disruptive behavior will result in moderation or eviction.


Content license

By contributing to OrangePolitics, you agree to license your contributions under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 United States License.

Creative Commons License

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.