Procurement Guidelines for Vendors and Contractors

INTRODUCTION

These guidelines are intended to serve as a guide for vendors and contractors who are interested, or are doing business with the City of Fitchburg. If there are any questions pertaining to policies and procedures, you may email the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO).

AUTHORITY

All City Departments, including the School Department, and departments which operate through an enterprise fund, are subject to the Commonwealth’s procurement laws, inclusive but not limited to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 30B, Chapter 7, Chapter 30, §39M and Chapter 149.

In addition to providing legal procurements, it is our goal to provide efficiency and best value to our customers: City staff and Departments, and ultimately to the residents and taxpayers. The Procurement Team is available to provide guidance and assistance with public bids and proposals we conduct.

The Chief Procurement Officer is responsible for monitoring spending activities to ensure procurement practices are compliant with applicable laws, to develop strategies for improvement, to implement policies and procedures, and to identify potential cost-savings and efficiencies in the procurement process.

PROCUREMENT THRESHOLDS

CHAPTER 30B (Supplies and Services)

Procurements estimated to cost less than $10,000

Procurement of supplies and services estimated to cost less than $10,000 must be conducted using “sound business practices” which is defined as checking price lists, seeking quotes, or conducting market research to ensure competitive pricing is received. Sound reasoning may also consist of consideration of quality, experience, or qualifications of a vendor providing the goods or services. Soliciting quotes is encouraged even when the potential purchase is less than $10,000.

Procurements estimated to cost between $10,000 and $50,000

Procurement of supplies and services estimated to cost between $10,000 and $50,000 requires the solicitation of at least three (3) written quotes from potential vendors. Quote requests must be in writing and provided to each potential vendor. Documentation of quotes solicited must be included in the requisition process.

Procurements estimated to cost between $50,000 and $100,000

An “Invitation for Bid” (“IFB”) or a “Request for Proposals” (“RFP”) is required to promote participation and competition for all procurements estimated to cost $50,000 or more. An IFB should be used for goods and services where award to the bidder offering the lowest price is preferred. An RFP should be used in circumstances when factors other than price should be considered, and a method is needed to award a proposal based on merit, before considering price.

Procurements made under this section are required to have a notice posted in a newspaper, on COMMBUYS, and posted at City Hall, at least two weeks prior to due date.

Procurements estimated to cost $100,000 or more

In addition to the requirements above, a solicitation where the estimated cost is over $100,000 must also include a notice in the Commonwealth’s “Goods and Services Bulletin.”

Real Property

Real property shall be disposed of in accordance with prescribed practices and in compliance with Chapter 30B and City Ordinances.

Surplus Supplies

For items with a value less than $10,000, the CPO will apply best practices for disposition or disposal. For items with a resale or salvage value greater than $10,000, either a sealed bid or public auction process will be used. The CPO may partner with auction professionals, use online resources, or any other such resource to secure the best return possible, so long as the process complies with Chapter 30B.

CHAPTER 7C, §44-57 (Design Services)

Estimated construction cost of less than $100,000 or estimated design fee less than $10,000

There is no formal procurement procedure for a design for which the estimated construction cost will be less than $100,000 or the design fee will not cost more than $10,000; however it is recommended that prices and qualifications be submitted from at least three design firms.

Estimated construction cost of more than $100,000 or estimated design fee more than $10,000

Design projects where the estimated construction cost will be more than $100,000 AND the design fee will cost more than $10,000 are subject to a qualifications based process. The City’s “Designer Selection Procedures” shall be followed.

Under this type of procurement, the City must either set a design fee or set a not-to-exceed fee limit and negotiate with the top ranked designer within the fee limit. The CPO will work with the contracting department on establishment of the fee or fee limit.

Procurements made under this section are required to have a notice posted in the Central Register and in a newspaper with local circulation.

CHAPTER 149 (BUILDING CONSTRUCTION)

Procurements estimated to cost less than $10,000

Procurement of public building construction estimated to cost less than $10,000 must be conducted using “sound business practices” which is defined as checking pricing, seeking quotes, or conducting market research to ensure competitive pricing is received. Sound reasoning may also consist of consideration of quality, experience, or qualifications of a contractor. Soliciting quotes is encouraged even when the potential purchase is less than $10,000.

*As a result of the Municipal Modernization Act, building construction procurements under $50,000 may also be made using a State Contract procured by OSD, or a Blanket Contract procured by the City.

Contracts under this section are subject to the Prevailing Wage Law from dollar one.

Procurements estimated to cost between $10,000 and $50,000

Procurement of building construction contracts estimated to cost between $10,000 and $50,000 requires the solicitation of at least three (3) written quotes from potential contractors. Quote requests must be in written form and well-communicated to each potential vendor. Documentation of quotes solicited must be included in the requisition process.

Procurements made under this section are required to have a notice posted on the City’s website, in COMMBUYS, in the Central Register and posted at City Hall.

OSHA training and Prevailing Wages are also required.

*As a result of the Municipal Modernization Act, building construction procurements under $50,000 may also be made using a State Contract procured by OSD, or a Blanket Contract procured by the City.

Procurements estimated to cost between $50,000 and $150,000

Procurement of public building contracts estimated to cost between $50,000 and $150,000 requires a sealed bid process.

Procurements made under this section are required to have a notice posted in a newspaper, in COMMBUYS, in the Central Register and posted at City Hall.

In addition a payment bond of fifty percent (50%) of the total contract price is required.

Procurements estimated to cost $150,000 or more

In addition to the requirements above, a solicitation where the estimated cost is over $150,000 must also include a requirement of DCAMM certification for the general contractor and any sub-contractors. A payment bond of one hundred percent (100%), a performance bond of one hundred percent (100%) and a DCAMM evaluation for all contractors is also required.

Filed sub-bids are required for any trade within the construction contract where the estimated cost will be twenty thousand dollars ($25,000) or more.

For building contracts costing over $150,000 there is also a mandatory DCAMM evaluation process.

Procurements estimated to cost $10 million or more

In addition to the requirements above, a solicitation where the estimated cost is over $10 million must also include a prequalification procedure for both general contractors and sub-bidders. This process is required before the actual bidding process can take place; the bidding process is then restricted to only those who have been approved in the prequalification process.

CHAPTER 30, §39M (PUBLIC WORKS CONSTRUCTION)

Procurements estimated to cost less than $10,000

Procurement of public works construction estimated to cost less than $10,000 must be conducted using “sound business practices” which is defined as checking price lists, seeking quotes, or conducting market research to ensure competitive pricing is received. Sound reasoning may also consist of consideration of quality, experience, or qualifications of a contractor. Soliciting quotes is encouraged even when the potential purchase is less than $10,000.

Contracts under this section are subject to the Prevailing Wage Law from dollar one.

Procurements estimated to cost between $10,000 and $50,000

Procurement of public works construction contracts estimated to cost between $10,000 and $50,000 requires the solicitation of at least three (3) written quotes from potential contractors. Quote requests must be in written form and well-communicated to each potential vendor. Documentation of quotes solicited must be included in the requisition process.

Procurements made under this section are required to have a notice posted on the City’s website, in COMMBUYS, in the Central Register and posted at City Hall.

OSHA training and Prevailing Wages are also required.

*As a result of the Municipal Modernization Act, building construction procurements under $50,000 may also be made using a State Contract procured by OSD, or a Blanket Contract procured by the City.

Procurements estimated to cost more than $50,000

Procurement of public building contracts estimated to cost more than $50,000 requires a sealed bid process.

Procurements made under this section are required to have a notice posted in a newspaper, in COMMBUYS, in the Central Register and posted at City Hall.

In addition a payment bond of fifty percent (50%) of the total contract price is required.

MASSDOT Prequalification

Although there is no prequalification process under c.30 §39m, prequalification of bidders by MASSDOT is required for contracts of $50,000 or more if the City is to receive c.90 funding.

PROCUREMENT PRACTICES

Handling Late Responses

A late bid or proposal is one that is delivered after the due date and time. If a bid or proposal is late, it must be rejected as non-responsive, and as such will be returned unopened to the person submitting the bid or proposal. Should a bid or proposal be received via USPS/UPS/FedEx or any other courier service, it shall be refused upon attempted delivery. If mailed, it shall be returned unopened.

Corrections or modifications to responses are also not accepted beyond the due date and time.

Deciding Tie Bids

On the rare occasion of a tie bid, the City must use a tie-breaking method which is fair to all responders. It will be the policy of the CPO to direct the tie bidders to conduct a “second heat” whereas they will be asked to send an additional response with a new bid form on a date and time specific.

Awarding and Executing Contracts

Once the vendor/contractor has been identified as eligible for a contract, the CPO will draft the contract. If a vendor/contractor supplies a contract, the CPO may choose whether to use the contract; however, if used it will be adapted to the City’s format prior to distribution for signatures. The first signature on any contract shall be the vendor/contractor’s signature. “Notice of Award” will accompany the contract.

A contract packet will be considered complete when returned from the vendor/contractor with all required documents, which may include insurance certificates, bonds, guarantee or warranty documents. If any component is missing, the CPO will notify the vendor/contractor.

AUTHORITY TO SIGN CONTRACTS

The Mayor is the only person authorized to execute a contract on behalf of the City, per the City Charter. Service agreements, construction contracts, contracts for goods/services, real estate, lease or purchase of equipment, and any document containing terms and conditions, must be signed by the Mayor or will be considered non-binding. The Mayor will not apply his signature to any contract without all prior authorized signatures being affixed, using the City’s standard signature block.

Upon receiving the Mayor’s signature, the contract is considered fully executed and ready for distribution. One fully executed copy is returned to the vendor/contractor.

HOW TO RECEIVE NOTICE OF BIDS AND QUOTES

All quotes, bids, and requests for proposals are posted on this website under "Current Solicitations." All solicitations may be downloaded following the completion of a short registration form. Interested parties may also sign up for notifications using our alert system where various options for notification are available.

As of January 1, 2018, all quotes and bids are available only through the website. Please do not request documents be sent to you by mail, email, or to be picked up at the office.

PROTESTS

Any vendor or contractor intending to protest an award is instructed to do so by submitting, in writing, specific contentions. All correspondence in this regard must be directed to the Chief Procurement Officer, who will confer with legal counsel and determine the basis for the protest. The City will respond in writing within ten (10) days of receipt of the protest.

CITY’S TAX EXEMPT STATUS

The City is exempt from state taxes when procuring goods and services. Tax Exempt forms are found on the City website on the Purchasing Department "LINKS" page. 

FINANCIAL INTEREST OF CITY EMPLOYEES

Municipal employees and their family members are not allowed to have a financial interest in a contract with the City they are employed by. Municipal employees and their family members are also forbidden to solicit or accept gifts, gratuities, or favors from anyone looking to conduct business with the City of Fitchburg. Incidents of this nature will be reported to the appropriate authorities for investigation.

NON-COLLUSION

All those doing business with the City will be required to certify under penalties of perjury that their quote, bid, or proposal has been made and submitted in good faith and without collusion or fraud with any other person. As used in this certification, the word "person" shall mean any natural person, business, partnership, corporation, union, committee, club, or other organization, entity, or group of individuals.

VENDOR OR BIDDER TAX STATUS

All those doing business with the City will be required to certify under the penalties of perjury, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 62C, Section 49A, that to the best of their knowledge and belief, they have complied with all laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts relating to taxes, reporting of employees and contractors, and withholding and remitting child support.

In addition, a social security or tax identification number may be furnished to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue to determine whether tax filing or tax payment obligations have been met. Providers who fail to correct their non-filing or delinquency will not have a contract or other agreement issued, renewed, or extended.

FINANCE LAW AND AUTHORIZED PURCHASES

Please be advised that the City of Fitchburg, in accordance with municipal finance law, requires a prior appropriation before entering into a contract. These same laws prohibit any City employee or department incurring a liability in excess of an appropriation. Purchase orders or contracts are mechanisms used by the City to ensure that funding is available for a particular purpose. If a supply, service, labor or materials are supplied to the City (valid emergencies declared by City personnel excluded) without a purchase order or contract, the invoice will not be eligible for payment.