SANTA FE (KRQE) — The state Department of Tourism, which was under fire a few months ago for hiring an out-of-state company to produce commercials, is drawing more criticism for outsourcing another contract.
The department paid $180,000 to a Missouri-based company, MMGY, to redesign its decade-old website. In January, the agency announced it awarded $2 million to a Texas-based production house to shoot the commercials as part of its "New Mexico True" campaign.
"It's a competitive RFP (request for proposal) process, and we go to the company that can do the best job for the state," said Veronica Valencia, communications and marketing director for the department.
Valencia said MMGY scored highest, beating out the 11 other companies including five from New Mexico vying for the job.
"They're scored on a range of attributes from creativity to talent to value," said Valencia. "Their ability to develop a sound creative site as well as the value they bring to the table and their experience in the industry."
But one of the losing companies questions that. Albuquerque-based Real Time Solutions has redesigned several state sites, including the governor's, lieutenant governor's and the state's main website.
Some lawmakers also question why the state decided to send money out of New Mexico.
"We're seeing the same department send more money out of state for work that could have been done here," said Rep. Brian Egolf, D-Santa Fe. "Local firms should always come first, and we should do everything in our power to make sure that the money stays here in New Mexico."
It's unclear if the winning company had the lowest bid. News 13 requested the score sheets but were told they were not readily available on Friday.
The state does give a five percent advantage for in-state companies vying for contracts. That means their bid scores already start off a bit higher than out-of-state companies.
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New Mexico is located in the southwestern region of the U.S. Inhabited by Native American populations for many centuries, New Mexico has also been part of Imperial Spain, part of Mexico, and a U.S. territory.