Procurement Procedures

Pro-01 Small Procurement – Orders up to $5,000

Departments are authorized to obtain quotes for purchase of materials, supplies, equipment, or services with an aggregate cost of not more than $5,000 without competitive bidding. It is the goal of the College to be competitive in its procurement activities. Therefore, competition is encouraged, but not required.

Departments shall enter the requisition into the Banner electronic business information system (hereafter referred to as Banner). Departments shall complete all fields, including all vendor information.  

After the request has been approved through Banner, Procurement shall process, sign, and issue a purchase order.

Certain supplies and materials are stocked in Central Receiving Warehouse. A Central Stores Catalog is available listing supplies; requestors shall complete the Banner Central Stores Requisition to order these supplies.

Pro-02 Small Procurement - $5,000 to $15,000

All purchases with an estimated cost of $5,000 to $15,000 are to be competitively quoted. Departments may solicit quotations using a written, telephone, e-mail, or fax request.

Departments shall solicit 3 quotes, and select the lowest cost, acceptable quality quotation that meets the requirements. In the event that the Department cannot find three potential suppliers for the item, the Department should contact Procurement for assistance in locating potential suppliers. Upon selecting the winning quote, Departments shall enter the requisition into Banner, the same as under Pro-01. Departments shall retain the quotes in their file and forward a copy of the winning quote to Procurement.

Departments should discuss any special requirements with Procurement. Based on this discussion the result may be the issuance of a formal request for quotation.

Pro-03 Purchases between $15,000 and $25,000

All requests with an estimated cost of $15,000 to $25,000 shall be sent to the Procurement Department.

The Requisitioning Department shall send the requirement including a specification or scope of work and suggested bidders to Procurement. Procurement will issue a request for quotation, request for proposal or an invitation to bid depending on the completeness of the specification. Results of the request, with copies of quotes or proposals, will be sent to the Department for review. Upon selecting a winning bidder the Department shall enter a requisition into Banner, the same as under Pro-01.

Pro-04 Purchases between $25,000 and $75,000

All requests with an estimated cost of $25,000 to $75,000 shall be sent to the Procurement Department.

Procurement will issue a formal request for invitation to bid or request for proposals, depending on the detail of the specifications and at the discretion of the Director for Procurement.

At least two (2) weeks before bids or proposals are to be filed, the College shall advertise for bids or proposals on the Emaryland Marketplace website, the electronic commerce platform administered by the Maryland Department of General Services.

Procurement will work with the Requisitioning Department through the bidding process and evaluation of proposals. Upon selection of the winning bid or proposal, the Requisitioning Department shall enter the requisition into Banner the same as under Pro-01.

Pro-05 Purchases of $75,000 or more

Purchases of $75,000 or more require Board of Trustees (BOT) approval. The BOT generally meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, except July. The procedures under Pro-04 regarding Invitation for Sealed bids or Request for Competitive Sealed Proposals and advertising also apply to purchases of $75,000 or more.

Pro-06 Public Bid Opening and Recommendation for Approval by the Board of Trustees

The date and time for public bid openings shall be stated in the Request for Sealed Proposals or Invitation for Sealed Bids with an estimated cost of $75,000 or more. Representatives of the Requisitioning Department are invited to the bid opening and will work with Procurement to analyze and evaluate the bids or proposals. Procurement will prepare a narrative and recommendation for approval by the BOT.

Pro-07 Exceptions to Obtaining Competitive Bids or Quotes

The following purchases can be made without soliciting competitive bids or proposals:

  • the purchase of books or other materials for instruction
  • emergency repairs ( further explained in Pro-08 )
  • purchases made against Intergovernmental or Independent Cooperative Purchasing Agreements ( further explained in Pro-15 )  
  • sole source purchases  ( further explained in Pro-09 )

Pro-08 Emergency Repairs / Purchases

An emergency situation is one that, if not resolved immediately, would threaten the well-being and safety of the College or the community, or cause an instructional function to stop operating. The Department must contact Procurement in the event of an emergency situation that requires the vendor to be on campus so that a certificate of insurance can be obtained (refer to Pro-13).  Although it is desirable to seek competition as practical, if this is not practical, an award shall be made though a non-competitive negotiation to satisfy the emergency. The award may be handled through a purchase order or a direct payment authorization. 

Pro-09 Sole Source Purchases

Sole source procurement is allowed only when the Director for Procurement determines that there is a valid reason for sole source. The Director for Procurement may award the procurement contract without competition to that source. Circumstances for a sole source include the following:

  • when it is determined that only one source exists which meets the requirement
  • when compatibility of equipment, accessories, or replacement parts is the paramount consideration
  • when a vendor's item is needed for trial or testing
  • when a sole vendor's item is procured for resale
  • when certain public utility services are to be procured and only one source exists

Pro-10 General Terms and Conditions

Harford Community College General Terms and Conditions have been prepared by Procurement and shall apply, as a minimum, to all purchase orders, where other specific terms and conditions do not exist. Requests for Competitive Sealed Proposals and Invitations for Sealed Bids will have additional specific terms.

Pro-11 Other Terms and Conditions for RFP’s and IFB’S

Procurement is responsible to ensure that proper terms and conditions are included in Requests for Sealed Proposals and Invitations for Sealed Bids to protect the College. The dollar value of the purchase, and whether the purchase is for goods only or for on-site construction services, determines the specific terms. Procurement prepares bid documents using the appropriate terms required by law. Terms and conditions are maintained by the Procurement Department.  

Pro-12 Bid Security, Performance and Payment Bonds

Procurement will generally require a bid security of 5% of the total amount of bid for construction project solicitations expected to exceed $100,000.00. A bid security for other solicitations will be required at the discretion of the Procurement Department.

Procurement will generally require a performance bond and a payment bond in an amount equal to 100% of the contract price for construction projects expected to exceed $100,000.00. 

Pro-13 Insurance and Indemnification

In all cases where a supplier or contractor is working on the College property, even if the work is incidental service, whether the service is provided against a contract or purchase order, whether it is emergency work or non-emergency work, Procurement will obtain and maintain a certificate of insurance certificate from the Supplier or Contractor. 

Requisitioning Departments and/or User Departments are requested to notify Procurement of any supplier providing services on-site where insurance may not have been covered in a formal bidding process.

Pro-14 Blanket Orders

A blanket order is a purchase order that is established with a vendor to permit a department to make repetitive small purchases over a given time period, usually up to one (1) year, and up to a maximum dollar limit. The blanket order is an efficient method for User Departments to save time, improve lead time, and reduce paperwork.

Procurement shall review blanket orders each year for appropriate action.

Pro-15 Intergovernmental and Cooperative Purchasing

Intergovernmental cooperative purchase agreements are contracts entered into by a governmental entity by a means consistent with the procedural requirements of applicable law and available for use by another governmental entity.

Independent cooperative purchase agreements are contracts entered into by a not-for-profit buying cooperative by a means consistent with the procedural requirements of applicable law and available for use by its members.

The Procurement Department maintains records on cooperative purchasing agreements that are available.  Requisitioning departments may contact Procurement for information on a specific requirement. The College may utilize any current valid cooperative agreement for a purchase in lieu of competitive bidding. The agreements shall be used as a means to promote efficiency and savings where practical and where the cooperative agreements can provide materials, supplies, or services needed by the College. An example of such agreements is the vehicle purchase agreement maintained by the State Department of General Services (DGS).

Pro-16 Environmentally Preferred Purchasing

The College is committed to seeking environmentally preferred products (EPP) at a competitive cost.  Procurement, working with Requisitioning/User Departments, will seek EPP wherever practical. Guidelines used for products to be considered include, but not limited to:

  • recycled content products
  • products that reduce waste or use less material
  • less toxic products
  • products that require less energy in daily use
  • purchase of “energy star” certified products 

Pro-17 Supplier Diversity

The College is committed to diversity in its procurement function. Procurement is guided by the following principles of Supplier Diversity:

  • to promote a pool of suppliers that resembles the customer, our students and constituents
  • to advance the initiative of equal economic opportunity through pro-active measures aimed at increasing utilization of qualified minority and women owned suppliers
  • to ensure that maximum opportunity is extended toward solicitation from a diverse pool of suppliers
  • to demonstrate our commitment to equality of opportunity

Pro-18 Fixed Asset Tags

The Finance Department determines fixed asset minimum dollar amount for applying tags to equipment; currently that amount is $1,000 or greater.

Distribution Services applies a fixed asset tag to the equipment and records the full description including part number and serial number, if available, along with the fixed asset tag number. Distribution Services shall coordinate its activities with the Finance. For non-movable items, Distribution Services reserves the right to make a decision, in consultation with Finance Department, that a tag is not necessary.  

Pro-19 Surplus Equipment or Property

Procurement is responsible for the disposal of surplus. Departments having surplus equipment or other property shall notify the Procurement Department in writing providing a complete description including quantity, model number and condition. 

If the property is an inventory item, Procurement will notify Accounting. If the item has a fixed asset tag, the tag will be removed and sent to the Finance Department.

Surplus and obsolete computer and other miscellaneous electronic items are sent to the Central Receiving warehouse from the Computer and Technology Services Department (CTS) for disposal. Hard drives are wiped clean by CTS. The miscellaneous electronic equipment is documented, palletized and accumulated for disposal through recycling.

If the item may contain hazardous materials, or contain materials of a sensitive disposal nature, Procurement will contact the Environmental and Occupational Health Office for guidance.

Procurement shall arrange for transfer or disposal of surplus items. Methods of transfer or disposal include the following:

  • sell to a recycle firm to minimize disposal at the landfill
  • sell through an auction site or directly to a Buyer 
  • trade-in against the purchase of new equipment
  • transfer to county government, schools, or other non-profit organization
  • transfer to a non-profit organization outside of the county
  • dispose at county landfill (last resort)

In the event that the value of the surplus sale exceeds $5,000 the Director for Procurement will obtain approval from the Director for Procurement.

Pro-20 Vendor Protest

Formal protests of contract awards shall be made in writing to the Director for Procurement and shall be filed within ten (10) calendar days after the protesting party knows or should have known of the facts giving rise to the protest. Protests filed after ten (10) calendar days will not be considered. The written protest shall include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • clear indication that the communication is a formal, written protest
  • the name and address of the protesting party
  • appropriate identification of the procurement such as the solicitation number
  • a statement of reasons for the protest
  • supporting exhibits, evidence or documents to substantiate any claims
  • signature of duly authorized officer or agent of the protesting party

The Director for Procurement may request additional information from the protesting party who shall submit the information within the time periods established. The protest will be forwarded by the Director for Procurement to the College's General Counsel for review and recommendation. When a protest has been filed within ten (10) calendar days and before an award has been made the procurement process may be suspended, at the sole discretion of the Director for Procurement, and no award of the contract will be made until the protest has been settled. A decision on a protest shall be made in writing by the Director for Procurement within ten (10) working days after receiving the recommendation from the College's General Counsel.

An appeal of a decision of the Director for Procurement may be made to the College's Vice President for Finance and Operations. Notification of the intent to appeal a decision of the Director for Procurement shall be communicated to the Assistant VP of Procurement, via mail or email, within two (2) business days of receipt of the decision. The actual appeal shall be filed not later than seven (7) calendar days after the receipt of such decision. The appeal shall contain a detailed statement of the factual and legal grounds upon which a reversal or modification is deemed warranted specifying any errors of law or information not previously considered. A decision of an appeal will be made as expeditiously as possible. The decision of the Vice President of Finance and Operations shall be final with respect to administrative remedies.

Pro-21 Debriefing Unsuccessful Bidders

When a contract or purchase order is awarded on some basis other than price alone, unsuccessful bidders may request a debriefing to the Director for Procurement within a reasonable time. Debriefings shall be provided at the earliest feasible time after the final recommendation has been made and after approval by the Board of Trustees (if applicable). The debriefing shall be conducted by the Director for Procurement.

The debriefing shall be limited to discussion of the unsuccessful bidder's proposal and may not include discussion of a competing bidder's confidential or proprietary information. The debriefing shall be factual, consistent with the evaluation of the proposal and may provide information on areas in which the unsuccessful bidder's proposal was deemed weak or deficient.

The debriefing may not include discussion or dissemination of the thoughts, notes, or rankings of individual members of an evaluation committee, but may include a summary of the rationale for the decision and recommended contract award.

Pro-22 Public Access to Purchasing Files

Access to public records will be made available in accordance with the provisions of the Public Information Act.

A vendor, bidder, media, or any member of the general public who wishes to review purchase order files may make the request, in writing, to the Director for Procurement. The Assistant VP will arrange an appointment, phone call, or conference call within thirty (30) days of the request. The requested files will be organized prior to the scheduled meeting or call and all designated trade secrets submittals or other proprietary data deemed to be confidential will be removed. If copies are requested, the Procurement Department will make the necessary arrangements for copies and pass on any costs to the requester.

Pro-23 Records Retention

The Procurement Office will retain records as follows:

  • Bid documents, including advertisements, bid specs, bids and correspondence - 7 years
  • Building construction or building renovation documents as listed above - Life of the building
  • Purchase orders - Current fiscal year plus 2 additional years