Board Approved March 3, 2000
Part 1 - General Provisions
Section I - Scope
The purpose of this policy is to facilitate the efficient and economical purchase of goods and services to be used in library operations. This policy will govern all acquisitions of the Gwinnett County Public Library except for those items specifically exempted.
Section II - Exemptions
The following supplies and services are exempt from this policy:
- Printed copyright material including published books, maps, periodicals and technical pamphlets (not including software for computer systems), and Library materials in all formats,
- Real property, real estate brokerage and appraising, and related contracts and agreements,
- Purchases between governments and/or nonprofit organizations,
- Dues, memberships, and board member fees,
- Services provided directly to individual citizens and employees including reimbursements and other miscellaneous payments,
- Utilities including but not limited to electricity, water, sanitation, and telephone,
- Training, facilitators for meetings, travel, lodging or meal expenses,
- Legal or employment advertisements,
- Professional services and related expenses, including but not limited to medical, legal, architectural, and engineering,
- Any item on county, state, or federal contract.
Section III - Application of Federal and State Law
It is intended that this policy shall conform to all applicable provisions of the laws of the United States and the State of Georgia, and the provisions hereof shall be so construed wherever possible. In the event any portion of this policy shall be declared invalid for its failure to conform to state or federal law, such invalidity shall not affect the remaining portions hereof. Notwithstanding any other provision of this policy, the Library may enter into a contract, follow any procedure, or take any action which is otherwise at variance with this policy if required as a condition to receiving funds from the government of the United States or the State of Georgia.
Section IV - Public Access to Procurement Information
Interested persons shall have access to information regarding procurement transactions of the Library in accordance with the State of Georgia Open Records Act.
Section V - Ethics
It shall be unethical for any person to offer, give or agree to give any Library employee or official or for any Library employee or official to solicit, demand, accept or agree to accept from another person a gratuity or an offer of employment in connection with any decision approval or disapproval, recommendation or preparation of any part of a program requirement or a purchase request, influencing the content of any specification or procurement standard, rendering of advice, investigating, audit, or in any other advisory or other particular matter, pertaining to any program requirement or a contract or subcontract or to any solicitation or proposal thereof.
It shall be unethical for any payment, gratuity or offer of employment to be made by or on behalf of a subcontractor or any person associated therewith, as an inducement for the award of a subcontract or order.
C. Contemporaneous Employment
It shall be unethical for any Library employee who is participating directly or indirectly in the procurement process to become or to be, while such a Library employee, the employee of any person contracting with the governmental body by whom the employee is employed.
D. Waivers from Contemporaneous Employment Prohibition and Other Conflicts of Interest
The Executive Director may grant a waiver from the employee conflict of interest provision or the contemporaneous employment provision upon making a written determination that:
1. The contemporaneous employment or financial interest of the Library employee has been publicly disclosed,
2. The Library employee will be able to perform its procurement functions without actual or apparent bias or favoritism and,
3. The award will be in the best interests of the Library.
E. Use of Confidential Information
It shall be unethical for any Library employee or former Library employee knowingly to use confidential information for actual or anticipated personal gain, or for the actual or anticipated personal gain of any other person.
F. Purchases From Library Contracts
It shall be unethical for any Library employee to purchase commodities or services from a Library contract for personal use.
G. Circumvention of procedures
It shall be unethical for any Library employee to divide purchases in order to circumvent the procedures for obtaining price quotes. Violations of the purchasing policy involving items A thru G may result in one or more disciplinary actions as described in the Library’s personnel policy, Chapter VI, Section 610.
Part 2 - Procurement Organization
Section I - Authority and Responsibility for Purchasing
The Business Services Department shall serve the Library by obtaining required commodities and services in accordance with State of Georgia law and this policy. The Division Director, Business Services shall, except as otherwise specified herein, be responsible for the administration of all transactions governed by the provisions of this policy. The Division Director, Business Services shall be subject to the authority and supervision of the Executive Director.
Section II - Disclaimer of Responsibility for Improper Purchasing
The Gwinnett County Public Library Board may disclaim responsibility and liability for any expenditure or agreement for expenditure arising from a procurement made in its name by an unauthorized person or person acting outside this policy. The expense of any such disclaimed transaction will become the personal liability of the individual who acted improperly.
Part 3 - Source Selection
Section I - Summary of Methods of Source Selection
A. Competitive Sealed Bidding
In most cases, competitive sealed bid is the preferred method of source selection in the public sector and should be used whenever possible as it allows qualified, responsive Offerors to compete on the basis of price. Generally the following conditions must be met:
1. Clear and adequate specifications are available,
2. Two or more responsible Offerors are willing to participate in the process, and
3. Per item cost of materials, supplies, equipment or project is $10,000 or greater
B. Competitive Sealed Proposal
When use of the competitive sealed bid is either not practicable or not advantageous to the Library, a contract may be entered into by the use of the competitive sealed proposal. Use of the proposal is dependent upon such factors as:
1. Whether quality, availability or capability is overriding in relation to price in procurement of technical supplies or services,
2. Whether the initial installation needs to be evaluated together with subsequent maintenance and service capabilities and what priorities should be given these requirements in the Library’s best interest,
3. Whether a fixed price or cost type contract is more advantageous, or
4. Whether the market place will respond better to a solicitation permitting not only a range of alternate proposals, but evaluation and discussion of them before making the award.
C. Informal Purchase
Those purchases which, due to a limited dollar amount, do not justify the administrative time and expense for the conduct of competitive sealed bids or proposals. The Division Director, Business Services is authorized to establish the methods and procedures to be used in handling Informal Purchases. Unless otherwise specifically provided, such purchases will be obtained competitively through telephone quotations or informal written solicitations.
D. Sole Source Purchase
Only one source is able to fill requirements for the intended use. Sole source may be used for compatibility with equipment for repair purposes. Standardization may require sole source procurement, depending upon the intended use.
E. Emergency Purchase
An emergency exists when there is a threat to the health, welfare or safety of people or property and threat to delivery of essential services. The competitive process should be followed whenever possible in an emergency as long as the ability to respond to the emergency is not seriously impaired.
Section II –Competitive Sealed Bidding
A. Acquisitions $10,000.00 or More
Any commodity which is expected to cost $10,000.00 or more on a per item basis shall be acquired through the competitive sealed bid process except as otherwise provided in this Policy.
B. Dissemination of Invitations to Bid
Public notice of an Invitation to Bid shall be advertised as required by Georgia law. The public notice shall contain a general description of the item to be purchased, shall state the location where documents may be obtained and the date, time and place of bid opening. Notice of any required bonding and insurance shall be included in the public notice. A copy of such notice shall be posted in the Administrative Offices. Any other methods of advertisement identified as likely to result in optional competition may be used in addition to required advertisement, at the discretion of the Division Director, Business Services.
C. Receipt of Bids
No bid shall be eligible for consideration by the Library unless it is placed in a sealed envelope or package and actually received by Business Services by the date and time specified in the Request for Bids. Business Services shall cause all bids to be stamped with the date and time of receipt and secured until the designated opening time. A bid delivered late shall under no circumstances be eligible for consideration by the Library. Bids shall be returned unopened to the bidder.
D. Bid Opening
Bids shall be opened publicly in the presence of one or more witnesses on the date and at the time and place designated in the Request for Bids. The name of each Offeror, the purchase price contained in each bid, and such other information as the Business Services representative deems appropriate shall be announced as the bids are opened. A record of bid information shall be recorded and available for public inspection.
E. Modification of Bids
Any clerical mistake which is patently obvious on the face of a bid may, subject to the limitations described below, be corrected upon written request and verification submitted by the Offeror. A non-material omission in a bid may be corrected if the Division Director, Business Services determines the correction to be in the Library’s best interest. Omissions affecting or relating to any of the following shall be deemed material and shall not be corrected after bid opening:
1. Price information, and
2. Any required insurance.
F. Withdrawal of Bids
Bids may be withdrawn at any time prior to the bid opening. After bids have been publicly opened, withdrawal of bid shall be based upon the following:
The bidder shall give notice in writing of his claim of right to withdraw his bid due to an error within two business days after the conclusion of the bid opening procedure. Bids may be withdrawn from consideration if the price was substantially lower that the other bids due solely to a mistake therein, provided the bid was submitted in good faith, and the mistake was a clerical mistake as opposed to a judgment mistake, and was actually due to an unintentional arithmetic error or an unintentional omission of a quantity of work, labor or material made directly in the compilation of the bid, which unintentional arithmetic error or unintentional omission can be clearly shown by objective evidence drawn from inspection of original work papers, documents and materials used in the preparation of the bid sought to be withdrawn. The bidder’s original work papers shall be the sole acceptable evidence of error and mistake if he elects to withdraw his bid. If a bid is withdrawn under the authority of this provision, the lowest remaining responsive bid shall be deemed to be the low bid.
G. Bid Evaluation
Bids shall be evaluated based on the requirements set forth in the invitation to bid. No criteria may be used in bid evaluation that are not specifically set forth in the solicitation.
H. Bid Cancellation
An Invitation for Bids may be cancelled prior to opening date or any or all bids may be rejected in whole or in part as may be specified in the solicitation, where it is in the best interest of the Library or as a result of improper conduct on the part of a Library employee. The reasons for any cancellation shall be made part of the bid file.
I. Bid Award
1. Responsive and Responsible Bidder(s)
Subject to approval by the Gwinnett County Library Board of Trustees, bids shall be awarded to the responsible bidder(s) who have submitted the lowest cost responsive bid(s).
2. Approval of Bids
All bid awards for amounts of $10,000.00 or greater on a per item basis shall be approved or rejected by the Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees.
3. Rejection of Bids
The Library reserves the right to reject any or all bids if it determines such rejection to be in the best interest of the Library.
4. Disqualification of Bids
The following types of bids shall be disqualified for consideration for a bid award:
a. A bid which is incomplete in any material aspect,
b. A bid submitted without required bonds or insurance, and
c. A bid submitted by a company on the Ineligible Source List.
5. Tie bids
In the event two (2) responsive bids are tied for the lowest price and the other terms and conditions of the two (2) bids are substantially the same, the bid shall be awarded to the Gwinnett County bidder if only one of the bidders has its principal place of business in Gwinnett County. If both or neither of the tied bidders has its principal place of business in Gwinnett County, then the bid award shall be made to the winner of a coin toss by Business Services staff in a public session where bidders and one or more witness may be present.
Section IV – Competitive Sealed Proposals
A. Acquisition $10,000.00 or more
Any item or service which is expected to cost $10,000.00 or more on a per item basis, when the competitive sealed bid process is not applicable nor in the best interest of the Library, shall be acquired through the competitive sealed proposal process except as otherwise provided in this Policy.
B. Dissemination of Proposals
Proposals shall be disseminated through a Request for Proposal. Public notice shall be advertised as required by Georgia law. The public notice shall contain a general description of the item or service to be purchased, shall state the location where documents may be obtained and the date, time and place of proposal receipt. Notice of any required bonding and insurance shall be included in the public notice. A copy of such notice shall be posted in the Administrative Offices. Any other methods of advertisement identified as likely to result in optional competition may be used in addition to required advertisement, at the discretion of the Division Director, Business Services.
C. Receipt of Proposals
No proposal shall be eligible for consideration by the Library unless it is placed in a sealed envelope or package and actually received by the Business Services department by the date and time specified in the Request for Proposals. The Business Services department shall cause all proposals to be stamped with the date and time of receipt and secured until the designated opening time. A proposal delivered late shall under no circumstances be eligible for consideration by the Library and shall be returned unopened to the bidder.
D. Proposal Opening
Proposals shall be opened publicly in the presence of one or more witnesses on the date and at the time and place designated in the Request for Proposals. The name of each Proposer shall be announced, but no other information shall be disclosed nor shall the proposals be considered "open record" until proposal is awarded.
E. Proposal Cancellation
A Request for Proposals may be cancelled prior to opening date or any or all proposals may be rejected in whole or in part as may be specified in the solicitation, where it is in the best interest of the Library or as a result of improper conduct on the part of a Library employee. The reasons for any cancellation shall be made part of the proposal file.
F. Proprietary Information
Information submitted by a proposer which is specifically marked "proprietary" shall not be disclosed outside of the Business Services department without the prior written consent of the proposer or a determination by the Division Director, Business Services or a court that the information sought is not of a privileged or proprietary nature.
G. Evaluation of Proposals
1. Initial Evaluation
Each proposal shall be evaluated to determine whether it is responsive to the specifications and other terms and conditions contained in the Request for Proposals. In evaluating the proposals, the evaluating team may communicate with each Proposer to clarify and amplify each Proposer’s proposal. No information concerning any other Proposer’s proposal shall be communicated in any way to the Proposer.
2. Request for Supplemental Information
Additional information may be requested of Proposers.
- Award of Proposal
1. Responsive and Responsible Proposal
Award shall be made to the responsible Offeror whose proposal is determined to be the most advantageous to the Library based upon but, not limited exclusively to, price and the evaluation factors set forth in the Request for Proposal.
2. Approval of Proposals
All proposals where cost is $10,000.00 or more on a per item basis shall be approved or rejected by the Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees.
3. Rejection of Proposals
The Library reserves the right to reject any or all proposals if it determines such rejection to be in the best interest of the Library.
4. Disqualification of Proposals
The following types of proposals shall be disqualified for consideration for award:
a. A proposal submitted without required bonds or insurance, and
b. A proposal submitted by a company on the Ineligible Source List.
b. A proposal submitted by a company on the Ineligible Source List.
Section V – Informal Purchases
Procurement which involve amounts less than $10,000 on a per item basis do not require a formal sealed bid/proposal process. However, the processes used for this type of procurement will include as much competition as is consistent with the anticipated cost of the procurement and the best interests of the Library.
B. Prohibition of Improper use of Informal Purchases Process
Purchases may not be artificially divided as to constitute an informal purchase, thereby circumventing the dollar limit requirement for competitive sealed bids/proposals.
Procurement within this category shall be made in accordance with the informal purchases procedures established by the Division Director, Business Services. These procedures will cover purchases delegated to user departments and branches as well as those handled through the central procurement process.
Such operational procedures shall proceed for obtaining adequate and reasonable competition for the supply or service being purchased. Further, such operational procedures shall require the preparation and maintenance of written records to adequately document the competition obtained, properly account for the funds expended, and facilitate audit/review of the transaction.
D. Informal Purchases Methods
These purchases shall be handled as follows unless otherwise delegated by the Division Director, Business Services:
- $00.01 to $999.99 on a per item basis, Business Services staff obtains commodities and services using judgment to select vendors. Business Services may delegate authority to branches and departments for some purchases under $999.99.
- $1,000.00 to $4,999.99 on a per item basis, Business Services staff obtains commodities and services competitively through telephone solicitations. A minimum of three quotations is required unless adequate source supply is not available;
- $5,000.00 to $9,999.99 on a per item basis, Business Services staff obtains commodities and services competitively through written quotations. A minimum of three quotations is required unless adequate source supply is not available.
Section VI – Sole Source Purchases
Based upon evidence that a particular commodity or service may be obtained from only one source and no similar commodity or service available from a different source will adequately meet an acquiring branch or department’s requirements and specifications, the Division Director, Business Services may recommend to the Executive Director that the commodity or service be purchased sole source based upon supporting documentation from the requesting branch or department. The Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees shall approve all sole source purchases where per item cost is $10,000.00 or greater.
Section VII – Emergency Purchases
The Division Director, Business Services or his/her designee shall have the authority to purchase commodities and services where there exists an emergency constituting a threat to public health, safety, or welfare, to the soundness and integrity of public property, or to the delivery of essential services and where the adverse effects of such emergency may worsen materially with the passage of time.
Acquisitions shall be made using such competitive procedures as circumstances reasonably permit. Emergencies shall be documented by the using department or branch and submitted to Business Services.
When a situation exists where time does not permit involvement of Business Services, a member of the Director’s Administrative Council is authorized to purchase necessary commodities or make necessary repairs.
All emergencies where cost per item is $10,000.00 or greater require ratification of the Gwinnett County Public Library Board of Trustees.
Section I – Responsibility of Bidders
A. Determination of Non-Responsibility
If a bidder or Offeror who otherwise would have been awarded a contract is found to be non-responsible, a written determination of non-responsibility shall be prepared by the Division Director, Business Services. A copy of the determination shall be made part of the contract and vendor performance files.
B. Vendor Performance Rating
The Division Director, Business Services is authorized to establish a vendor performance rating system for use in eliminating those vendors who fail to perform or perform unsatisfactorily. Rating system may be used for evaluation and award of bids and contracts.
C. Penalties for Non Performance
The Division Director, Business Services shall establish penalties for non performance for delivery failures or default in contract. Continual failure to respond to bid or proposal solicitations will result in removal from the Gwinnett County Public Library’s bidder list.
D. Ineligible Source List
1. Establishment of List
With the approval of the Executive Director, the following persons shall be placed on an Ineligible Source List pursuant to the provisions of this section for a reasonable period not to exceed three years:
a. Any person who submits a bid or proposal in bad faith;
b. Any person who willfully or repeatedly breaches a contract with the Library;
c. Any person who repeatedly refuses to accept a bid or proposal award;
d. Any person who has established a pattern or practice of unethical or immoral business practices;
e. Any person who has been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude; and
f. Any person who is owned, controlled or managed, in whole or in part, by any other person described in (a) through (e) above.
Any person shall not be eligible to provide any commodities or services to the Library during the period such person remains on the Ineligible Source List.
Section II – Collusive or Anti-Competitive Practices
Each bidder shall certify in writing that such bidder has not engaged in any collusive or anti-competitive practices in responding to a solicitation for bids or proposals.
Section III – Approval of Contracts
All contracts shall be reviewed and approved as to form by the Gwinnett County Law Department prior to execution on behalf of the Library. A contract shall conform to state and federal law and to Library policies and shall otherwise contain such provisions as are reasonably necessary to protect the interest of the Library. The Executive Director shall have the authorization to sign contracts where cost is less than $10,000.00 and shall sign contracts exceeding this amount with Board approval.
Section IV –Intergovernmental Contracts
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Policy, the Library may participate in a cooperative agreement for the acquisition of real property, personal property, or services with any other governmental entity or agency, whether federal, state or local.
Section V – Specifications
All specifications shall be prepared so as to promote overall economy for the purposes intended and encourage competition in satisfying the Library’s needs and shall not be overly restrictive. This policy applies to all specifications including but not limited to those prepared for the Library.
Section VI – Types and Use of Specifications
The Division Director, Business Services is authorized to establish procedures for applicability and appropriate use of "qualified products lists", "brand name or equal" specifications and "brand name" specifications.
Part 5 - Definitions
1) Acquisition – A transaction in which the Library purchases, orders, contracts for, or otherwise agrees to obtain for value any commodity or service.
2) Bid – Submission of information from an Offeror which describes the Offeror’s commodities or services, and any other information necessary to respond to the specifications and other requirements set forth in a Request for Bids.
3) Brand Name or Equal Specification – A specification limited to one or more items by manufacturers’ names or catalogue numbers to describe the standard of quality, performance, and other salient characteristics needed to meet Library requirements, and which provides for the submission of equivalent products.
4) Brand Name Specification – A specification limited to one or more items by manufacturers’ names or catalogue numbers.
5) Business – Any corporation, partnership, individual, sole proprietorship, joint stock company, joint venture, or any other private legal entity.
6) Commodity – A discrete and distinct item of tangible personal property, including, without limitation, any such item which is intended to become an integrated part of another item of tangible personal property or of any improvement to real property.
7) Confidential Information – Any information which is available to an employee only because of the employee’s status as an employee of the Library and is not a matter of public knowledge or available to the public on request.
8) Contract – Any agreement, purchase order, lease, or other document which creates or is intended to create binding reciprocal obligations including, without limitation, any document evidencing a bid or proposal award which has been accepted by the Offeror.
9) Direct or Indirect Participation – Involvement through decision, approval , disapproval, recommendation, preparation of any part of a purchase request, influencing the content of any specification or procurement standard, rendering of advice, investigation, auditing, or in any other advisory capacity.
10) Employee – An individual drawing a salary or wages from the Library, including any non-compensated individual performing personal services for the Library.
11) Gratuity – A payment, loan, subscription, advance, deposit of money, service or anything of more than nominal value, present or promised, unless consideration of substantially equal or greater value is received.
12) Offeror – Any person who has submitted a bid or proposal to the Library or otherwise offered to form a contract with the Library.
13) Per item basis – Consideration of a product or service separately from other products or services purchased at the same time.
14) Per item cost – Cost of a product or service considered separately from other products or services purchased at the same time.
15) Person – Any individual or legal entity.
16) Professional Service – A service consisting in material part of advice, evaluation, planning, design, or other effort involving the exercise of judgement, discretion, and knowledge, including, without limitation, a service provided by a person whose profession is licensed or regulated by the state or federal government.
17) Proposal – Submission of information from an Offeror which states how that Offeror intends to fulfill the specifications and other requirements described in a Request for Proposal.
18) Qualified Products List – An approved list of supplies or services described by model or catalogue numbers, which prior to competitive solicitation, the Library has determined will meet the applicable specification requirements.
19) Request for Bids – All information and documentation disseminated by the Library to solicit bids.
20) Request for Proposals – All information and documentation disseminated by the Library to solicit proposals.
21) Responsible bidder or Offeror – A person who has the capability in all respects to perform fully the contract requirements, and the experience, reliability, capacity, facilities, equipment and credit which will assure good faith performance.
22) Services – The furnishing of labor, time, or effort by a contractor which is not intended to accomplish the delivery of a specified tangible product other than reports which are merely incidental to the required performance, including, without limitation, a professional or consulting service.
23) Specification – In connection with a Request for Bids or Request for Proposals, a list or description of the characteristics of the commodities or services which will meet the Library’s requirements.