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Changing the Contract

For the past 5 years I have had several occasions to make changes in
contracts while managing the Business & Technology Department at Seattle
Public Library.  In every case, I found it helpful to talk through the
issues carefully with our vendor's representative, and make it clear what
service or financial goal(s) I was addressing with the changes.  It was
also helpful to talk about our long-term working relationship, and how the
cooperation of the rep with us would build business, rather than kill it. 

A very typical example was contract language from Dun & Bradstreet
requiring us to return our leased copies of one year before receiving the
subsequent edition.  Over several years, I worked closely with our rep on
this matter, because retention of archival copies had been negotiated by a
previous manager to me. 

In signing contracts, after having talked it through, I crossed
out the non-applicable word or phrase, handwriting in, where necessary,
our changes.

With at least 4 major publishers, I also had intense but useful
discussions in the Publishers' Forums and Business Reference materials'
colloquiums sponsored by BRASS within ALA.  Particularly at the Midwinter
sessions, the business publishing houses make a point to have senior level
editors and/or executives present to exchange ideas and points of view
with information professionals.  The negotiation of specific changes and
modifications were encouraged by these senior level executives from major
publishing houses.

I have just moved to a new job here at Seattle Public, and have pursued
this same contract modification on a contract just sent to Moody's.  My
experience was that initial e-mail "promos" from my rep were important to
retain.  When last-minute changes were proposed, I referred to  that
language as the "offer" I had been negotiating, and that I was not
prepared to renegotiate a figure twice the original amount.  After a
day or two, I received the message that the company would indeed keep its
word.  Apparently, they want to continue a successful long-term business

Anne Thatcher

~~~~~~~	Manager, General Information & Referral Department
~~~~~~~~~~~~	 Seattle Public Library 	 	ph  206/386-4687
							fax 206/386-4685
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