This policy applies to members of the Board of Trustees, the Library Director and any other key employees charged with making purchasing decisions. In making such decisions, following this policy provides accountability to the public and fairness to the marketplace of vendors for goods and services.
Statement of Purpose
This policy is intended to ensure sufficient competition among vendors for public funds through a fair and open process. In determining how best to procure resources needed to provide information, technology and personal enrichment to everyone in our communities, a policy governing purchasing provides documentation of how vendors and products are selected. In both providing accountability and competition, fair purchasing drives down the cost of goods while encouraging greater value from vendors. This policy also demonstrates compliance with portions of the NYS General Municipal Law (hereafter noted as GML) concerning purchasing which helps determine whether proposed purchases are subject to competitive bidding.
All purchasing must be evaluated to determine whether it is subject to competitive bidding. The attached Competitive Bidding Evaluation is intended to serve as a procedural document for purchasers to follow in understanding competitive bidding requirements. In compliance with the GML, all purchasing contracts or budgets that in a twelve month period starting with the initial purchase will exceed $20,000 in total spending on similar types of goods and services are subject to competitive bidding. Public works contracts that will exceed $35,000 in a twelve month period are also subject to competitive bidding.
Competitive bidding will consist of public, legal advertising detailing planned purchasing, allowing vendors to submit bids in an organized manner. Legal advertising may be supplemented by targeted solicitation for bids. The “lowest responsible bidder” will be awarded the contract or purchase agreements, barring a finding of a “best value bidder” apart from the lowest cost. “Best value” bids may optimize quality, efficiency or other logistical concerns in addition to cost considerations; such bids will have objective and quantifiable standards shown in evaluation documents with a written justification being the minimum requirement. All bid documentation will be retained with the winning bid.
When purchasing can be conducted under an existing municipal contract that the library is eligible to participate in, competitive bidding is not required. As an alternative to soliciting competition directly, contract purchasing still allows for finding best values and low costs while ensuring open and fair use of public funds.
In addition to purchasing under existing municipal contract or purchasing below the thresholds described above, professional services and other procurements so noted in the Competitive Bidding Evaluation document attached are not required by law to be competitively bid. For all of these types of purchases that are exempt from competitive bidding, alternative proposals must be obtained by the purchaser through a minimum of three documented quotes, a reasonable alternative (in the case of sole-source purchasing or other limitations) or any other method that fits the intention of the GML. For on-going service or supply contracts, vendor proposals must be solicited every three years. These proposals will be put before the Board for vote prior to purchasing actions. Additionally, competition standards for purchasing below 1% of the annual budget is at discretion of the Library Director.
The Board of Trustees is responsible for determining whether given purchasing is subject to competitive bidding and evaluating competitive bids and other proposals to determine the lowest reasonable bidder or best value. Purchasing agents including the Library Director, Trustees, and any other key employee, are responsible for conducting the competitive bidding process with a legal notice and other solicitations. Seeking proposals apart from competitive bids are also the responsibility of purchasing agents. The Library Director or a designee holds responsibility for providing documents related to the policy to the concerned parties. The Library Director is responsible for training and supporting purchasing agents regarding this policy.
Approved Date: 10/13/2016
Reviewed by / on: