2. Purchasing and Bidding
A. This policy shall be known as the Purchasing Policy of the Southbridge School Committee.
B. Purpose of Policy The purpose of this policy is to describe the manner in which the School Department shall control the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment, and certain contractual services for the School Department to maintain a high ethical standard of all offices and employees of the School Department in connection therewith.
C. This policy is written in conformity with RI Gen. Laws § 45-55-1 to § 45-15-15 .
Method of Source Selection
Except as otherwise authorized by law, all municipal contracts shall be awarded by:
1. Competitive sealed bidding pursuant to Section V
2. Competitive negotiations pursuant to Section VI
3. Non-Competitive negotiations pursuant to Sections VII and VIII
4. Small purchase procedures pursuant to Section IX
Purchasing Agent - Appointment - Duties
Within the School Department or quasi public agency, there shall be designated a person or persons to act as purchasing officer so as to exercise the powers and duties as set forth in this policy.
The words defined in this section shall have the meanings set forth below whenever they appear in this policy, unless the context in which they are used clearly requires a different meaning or a different definition is prescribed for a particular section, group of sections or provision.
1. "Business" shall mean any corporation, partnership, individual, sole proprietorship, Joint stock company, Joint venture, or any other legal entity through which business is conducted.
2. "Change Order" shall mean a written order signed by the purchasing agent or contractor directing or allowing the contractor to make changes which the changes clause of the contract authorizes the purchasing agent or contractor to order without the consent of the contractor or purchasing agent.
3. "Purchasing Officer" shall mean the person designated in each municipality or quasi public agency pursuant to Section III.
4. "Construction" shall mean the process of building, altering, repairing, improving or demolishing any public structures or building, or other public improvements of any kind to any public real property. It does not include the routine maintenance or repair of existing structures, buildings, or real property performed by salaried employees of the municipality in the usual course of their Job.
5. "Contract" shall mean all types of agreements, including grants and orders for the purchase or disposal of supplies, services, construction or any other item. It shall include awards, contracts of a fixed-price, cost, cost plus a fixed fee, or incentive type, contracts providing for the issuance of Job or task orders, leases, letter contracts, purchase orders, and construction management contracts. It also includes supplemental agreements with respect to any of the foregoing. "Contract" does not include labor contracts with employees of the municipality.
6. "Contract modification" shall mean any written alteration in the specifications, delivery point, rate of delivery, contract period, price, quantity, or other contract provisions of any existing contract, whether accomplished by unilateral action in accordance with a contract provision or by mutual action of the parties to the contract. It shall include bilateral actions, such as supplemental agreements, and unilateral actions, such as change orders, administrative changes, notices of termination and notices of the exercise of a contract option.
7. "Contractor" shall mean any person having a contract with a municipality
8. "Data" shall mean recorded information, regardless of form or characteristic.
9. "Designee" shall mean a duly authorized representative of a person holding a superior position.
10. "Employee" shall mean an individual drawing a salary from a municipality, whether elected or not, and any nonsalaried individual performing personal services for any municipality.
11. "Municipality" shall mean the individual cities and towns of the State of Rhode Island.
12. "May" shall mean permissive.
13. "Negotiation" shall mean contracting by either of the methods set forth in Sections VI, VII, and VIII of this policy.
14. "Person" shall mean any business, individual, organization or group of individuals.
15. "Procurement" shall mean the purchasing, buying, renting, leasing or otherwise obtaining of any supplies, services, or construction. It shall also include all functions that pertain to the obtaining of any supply, service, or construction item, including description of requirements, selection and solicitation of sources, preparation and award of contract, and all phases of contract administration.
16. "Regulations" shall mean rules and regulations adopted by the individual cities or towns concerning the implementation of the provisions of this chapter.
17. "Services" shall mean the rendering, by a contractor, of its time and effort rather than the furnishing of a specific end product, other than reports which are merely incidental to the required performance of services. "Services" does not include labor contracts with employees of governmental agencies.
18. "Shall" shall mean imperative.
19. "Supplemental agreement" shall mean any contract modification which is accomplished by the mutual action of the parties.
20. "Supplies" shall mean all property, including but not limited to lease of real property, printing and insurance, except land or permanent interest in land.
Competitive Sealed Bidding
1. Contracts exceeding the amount provided by Section IX shall be awarded by competitive bidding unless it is determined in writing that this method is not practicable. Factors to be considered in determining whether competitive sealed bidding is Practicable shall include whether:
(a) Specifications can be prepared that permit award on the basis of either the lowest qualified bid price or the lowest qualified evaluated bid price.
(b) The available sources, the time and place of performance, and other relevant circumstances as are appropriate for the use of competitive sealed bidding.
2. The invitation for bids shall state whether award shall be made on basis of the lowest bid price or the lowest evaluated or responsive bid price. If the latter basis is used, the objective measurable criteria to be utilized shall be set forth in the invitation for bids, if available.
3. Adequate public notice of the invitation for bids shall be given a sufficient time prior to the date set forth therein for the opening of bids. Such notice may include publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the state as determined by the purchasing officer for the School Department not less than seven (7) days nor more than twenty-one (21) days before the date set for opening of the bids. The purchasing officer may make a written determination that the twenty-one (21) day limitation needs to be waived. The written determination shall state the reason why the twenty-one (21) day limitation is being waived and shall state the number of days, giving a minimum and maximum, before the date set for the opening of bids when public notice is to be given.
4. Bids shall be opened publicly in full view of the public at the time and place designated in the invitation for bids. Each bid, together with the name of the bidder, shall be recorded and an abstract made available for public inspection. Subsequent to the awarding of the bid, all documents pertinent to the awarding of the shall be made available and open to public inspection and retained in the bid file.
5. The contract shall be awarded with reasonable promptness by written the responsive and responsible bidder whose bid is either the lowest bid price or lowest evaluated or responsive bid price.
6. Correction or withdrawal of bids may be allowed only to the extent permitted by regulations issued by the purchasing officer.
1. When, under regulations adopted by the School Committee, the purchasing agent determines in writing that the use of competitive sealed bidding is not practicable and except as provided in Sections VIII and IX, a contract may be awarded by competitive negotiation.
2. Adequate public notice of the request for proposals shall be given in the same manner as provided in Section V (3).
3. Contracts may be competitively negotiated when it is determined in writing by the purchasing agent that the bid prices received by competitive sealed bidding either are unreasonable as to all or part of the requirements or were not independently reached in open Competition, and for which:
a. Each competitive bidder has been notified of the intention to negotiate and is given reasonable opportunity to negotiate.
b. The negotiated price is lower than the lowest rejected bid by any competitive bidder.
c. The negotiated price is the lowest negotiated price offered by a competitive offeror.
4. The request for proposals shall indicate the relative importance of price and other evaluation factors.
5. Award shall be made to the responsible offeror whose proposal is determined in writing to be the most advantageous to the municipality taking into consideration price and the evaluation factors set forth in the request for proposals.
6. Written or oral discussions shall be conducted with all responsible offerors who submit proposals determined in writing to be reasonably susceptible of being selected for award. Discussions shall not disclose any information derived from proposals submitted by competing offerors. Discussions need not be conducted:
a. With respect to prices where such prices are fixed by law or regulation, except that consideration shall be given to competitive terms and conditions or
b. Where time of delivery or performance shall not permit discussions or
c. Where it can be clearly demonstrated and documented from the existence of adequate competition or accurate prior cost experience with the particular supply, service, or construction item, that acceptance of an initial offer without discussion would result in fair and reasonable prices, and the request for proposals notifies all offerors of the possibility that the award may be made on the basis of the initial offers.
Negotiations After Unsuccessful Competitive Sealed Bidding
1. In the event that all bids submitted pursuant to competitive sealed bidding under Section V result in bid prices in excess of the funds available for the purchase, and the purchasing officer determines in writing:
a. That there are no additional funds available from any source so as to permit an award to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.
b. The best interest of the School Department shall not permit delay attendant to a resolicitation under revised specifications or for revised quantities under competitive sealed bidding as provided in Section V, then a negotiated award be made as set forth in subsection (2) or (3) of this section.
2. Where there is more than one bidder, competitive negotiations pursuant to Section VI shall be conducted with the three (3)--two (2) if there are only two (2) bidders--determined in writing to be the lowest responsive and responsible bidders to the competitive sealed bid invitation. Such competitive negotiations shall be conducted under the following restrictions:
a. If discussions pertaining to the revision of the specifications or quantities are held with any potential offeror, all other potential offerors shall be afforded an opportunity to take part in such discussions or
b. A request for proposals, based upon revised specifications or quantities, shall be issued as promptly as possible, shall provide for an expeditious response to the revised requirements, and shall be awarded upon the basis of the lowest bid price or lowest evaluated bid price submitted by any responsive and responsible offeror.
3. When after competitive sealed bidding, it is determined, in writing, that there is only one responsive and responsible bidder, a non-competitive negotiated award may be made with such bidder in accordance with Section VIII.
Sole Source Procurement and Emergency Procurement
a. A contract may be awarded for a supply, service, or construction item without competition when, under published regulations, the purchasing officer determines, in writing, that there is only one source for the required supply, service, or construction item.
b. Notwithstanding any other provision of this policy, the purchasing agent may make or authorize others to make emergency procurements when there exists a threat to public health, welfare, or safety under emergency conditions as defined in regulations or where the procurement shall be in the best interest of the school department as established by properly promulgated rules and regulations; provided, that such emergency procurements shall be made with such competition as is practicable under the circumstances. A written determination of the basis for the emergency and for the selection of the particular contractor shall be included in the contract file.
Procurements not to exceed an aggregate amount of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for construction and five thousand dollars ($5,000) for all other purchases may be made in accordance with small purchase regulations promulgated by the School Department. These amounts shall be increased or decreased annually hereafter at the same rate as the Boston Regional Consumer Price Index. Procurement requirements shall not be artificially divided so as to constitute a small purchase under this section.
Cancellation of Invitation for Bids And Requests For Proposals
An invitation for bids, a request for proposal, or other solicitation may be cancelled, or all bids or proposals maybe rejected, if it is determined, in writing, that such action if taken is not in the best interest of the municipality and approved by the chief purchasing officer.
Responsibilities of Bidders and Offerors
1. A written determination of responsibility of a bidder or offeror shall be made and it shall be made in accordance with regulations issued by the municipality.
A reasonable inquiry to determine the responsibility of a bidder or offeror may be conducted. The failure of a bidder or offeror to promptly supply information in connection with such an inquiry may be grounds for a determination of nonresponsibility with respect to such bidder or offeror.
2. Except as otherwise provided, by law, information furnished by a bidder or offeror pursuant to this section may not be disclosed outside of the purchasing department administering the contract without prior written consent of the bidder or offeror.
Prequalification of Contractors - General
The school department may provide for prequalification of suppliers as responsible prospective contractors for particular types of supplies, services, and construction. Solicitation mailing lists of potential contractors of such supplies, services, and construction shall include but need not be limited to such prequalified contractors. Prequalification shall not foreclose a written determination:
1. Between the time of the bid opening or receipt of offers and the making of an award that a prequalified supplier is not responsible, or
2. That a supplier who is not prequalified at the time of bid opening or receipt of offers is responsible.
Rules and Regulations of Purchasing Agent
1. The purchasing agent shall establish and amend, with the approval of the School Committee, when necessary, all rules and regulations authorized by this policy and any others necessary to its operation not in conflict herewith.
2. The purchasing agent is hereby authorized and directed to adopt such written regulations and procedures as may be necessary for the implementation of this policy. Such regulations and procedures shall become effective when approved, in writing, by the School Committee. Copies of the regulations shall be on file in the office of the purchasing agent and shall also be made available for public inspection during normal business hours.
It shall be unlawful for any employee of the Southbridge School to order the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment and contractual services or make any contract within the purview of this article other than through or with the approval of the purchasing agent and any purchase, order or contract made contrary to the provisions hereof shall not be approved, and the School Department of the Town of Southbridge shall not be bound thereby.
Policy Adopted May 4, 1993
H.V. Collins Company vs. Ronald Tarro, in His Capacity as Town Treasurer of the Town of Barrington, et al.
All purchases in excess of four hundred dollars ($400) but which shall not exceed the minimum dollar amount set at the beginning of each fiscal year to equal one one-hundredth of one percent (.01%) of the total amount appropriated by the Town Council for ensuing fiscal year shall be made only after telephone bids have been solicited. A memorandum shall be prepared and kept on file for public inspection in the Office of the Administrative Director in case of each purchase listing the vendors contacted, the bids received, the award made, and the reasons for said award.
Policy Adopted: May 4, 1993