The Purchasing Process
In accordance with the City of West Palm Beach Ordinance No. 4292-10, the Purchasing Division is authorized to administer all purchasing and materials management activities. The purchasing process is also governed by the Florida Statutues, Federal Regulations, State Rule and Florida Administrative Code and other process and procedures.
Informal Purchases – $50.01 to $2,500 – Purchases in this category are made with a procurement card (VISA) and the use of purchase orders. Multiple quotes are not required; however, employees should seek and obtain competition when it is practical to do so.
Informal Quotations (RFQ) – $2,500 to $25,000 – Written quotes are solicited when practical, without formal advertising or receipt of sealed bids, to a minimum of three suppliers, including at least one small business. RFQ’s are usually sent via facsimile (fax) and specify the good or service desired and necessary specifications. The only exception is professional services from Engineers, Architects, and Surveyors, regardless of the amount to be spent, these purchase must undergo the CCNA process.
Request for Proposal (RFP) – Purchases over $25,000. Utilized for the selection of professional services or goods, generally of a highly technical nature; when price is not the only variable; when the City has a particular need which can be met in more than one way and requests suppliers to submit proposals based on their knowledge, skills and abilities. RFP’s include objectives and a scope of work rather than a detailed set of specifications and are designed to select the best proposal based on the criteria stipulated in the RFP.
RFP’s are opened publicly on the designated due date and time. Only the names of the proposers are announced at that time. RFP’s are evaluated and ranked.
Invitation For Bid (IFB) – Purchases over $25,000 – A formal procurement method for acquiring goods, services and construction for public use in which award is based on the response to the criteria set forth in the IFB and which provides the best value to the City; does not include discussions or negotiations with bidders. Sealed bids are publicly opened and read at the time designated in the bid document and legal notices.
Pre-Bid Conference – The purpose of the pre-bid conference is to provide prospective bidders the opportunity to view the work site, receive clarification or make requests concerning interpretation from City representatives on any of the requirements set forth in the document. Attendance is strongly encouraged. This forum can also be used for small businesses and sub-contractors to connect.
Addenda – During the course of a formal written bid procedure, changes may take place affecting the terms and conditions or the specifications of the bid. In these instances, a written addendum will be mailed to all suppliers who have received bid documents. These changes become an integral part of the bid and are required to be signed and returned with the bid documents.
Bid Deposit and Performance Bond – Bid surety is designed to assure that Bids are presented in good faith and unconditionally may not be unilaterally withdrawn. Performance surety assures that a Contract will be faithfully performed. The City does not require security on the majority of purchases, however if security is required, it will be specified in the terms and conditions of the Invitation to Bid. If a Bid security is required, the Bid cannot be considered without it.
Samples and Testing – All bidders should examine specifications closely and provide samples as required. Samples must be made available at no cost and without obligation to the City. Samples will be kept in the possession of the City until the purchase order is completed after which samples may be picked up by the bidder as requested. Samples not picked up or requested for return within sixty days become the property of the City.
Insurance – Whenever a quotation, bid or proposal requires you to provide insurance, the selected supplier must provide proof of the required insurance prior to execution of award. All insurance requirements will be provided to all interested bidders.
Rejection of Bids – The Procurement Official may, if determined to be in the best interest of the City, reject all bids.
Award – The selection of a bidder with whom to contract for the procurement contained in the invitation to bid shall be based on the best value to the City. The Procurement Official, upon the recommendation of the selection committee, if applicable, shall select the bid that will provide the best value to the City using the following criteria: the skill and experience demonstrated by the bidder in performing contracts of a similar nature; the bidder’s capacity to perform in terms of facilities, personnel and financial viability; the bidder’s past performance; the amount of the bid in relation to the needed goods, services, or construction; the content of the bid; and shall select the proposal that will best meet the need or solve the problem described in the RFP and is the best value to the City.
Errors in Bidding – Your bid is your firm offer to enter into a contract with the City. However, if you discover that you have made an honest mistake in your bid, which you can substantiate with documentary evidence, you must notify the Procurement Official immediately. The Procurement Official has the discretion to permit withdrawal.
Withdrawal – All bids and proposals pricing and fee schedules submitted must be firm for the minimum of time stipulated in the bid document. Bids or proposals may not be withdrawn during this time, unless an error is discovered and a request is made to the Procurement Official. Bids and proposals may be withdrawn, by an authorized representative of your firm, prior to bid opening.
Right to Protest – A protest must be in writing and clearly state the reason for the protest. No protest can be considered without a check for 10% of the value of the bid or $10,000 whichever is least. It shall be submitted to the Procurement Official within seven (7) calendar days of the first date the aggrieved person knew or should have known of the facts giving rise to the protest. The Procurement Official shall review such a protest and shall issue a written decision as soon as practicable after such review is completed.
Invoicing and Payment – Payments are approved by the department which orders the goods and/or services. Invoices should be sent directly to the address specified on the purchase order. Questions regarding payments can best be answered by the City’s Finance Department, 561-822-1310 .
To ensure prompt payment of a purchase order, invoices must contain proper quantities, units and total prices as stated on the purchase order. No payments will be issued prior to receipt and acceptance of commodities and services by authorized City personnel.
Taxes – The City of West Palm Beach is exempt from paying taxes imposed by the state and federal governments. Upon request, exemption certificates will be provided. Such requests must be supported by an authorized direct order purchase initiated by the City and the purchase order number.
Gifts and Gratuities – City policy prohibits any employee from accepting business gifts. Acceptance of gifts at any time, other than advertising novelties, is prohibited. Employees must not become obligated to any supplier and shall not participate in any City transaction from which they will benefit directly or indirectly.