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General Solicitation Procedure – 62.05AB.01

College Policy Number/Title:

This procedure applies to all solicitations issued in accordance with Howard Community College’s bid policy, 62.05A, or request for proposal policy, 62.05B, and the accompanying procedures. 

Bids, proposals, and best and final offers are irrevocable for the period specified in the applicable document, except that the director of procurement, in consultation with the issuing department, may permit the withdrawal of a bid, proposal, or best and final offer.

All contact between outside entities and the college during the solicitation process must be through the procurement office.  Under no circumstances are other college staff, faculty, or related constituencies to have contact with a potential bidder or offeror about the solicitation while it is in progress.  Outside entities are expressly notified of the prohibition during the solicitation process and may have their response rejected if contact is made.  Failure to comply with this procedure may compromise the integrity of the solicitation.

Cancellation and Rejection

Every solicitation issued will state that the solicitation may be cancelled or rejected in whole or in part when it is in the best interest of the college to do so. 

1.    Cancellation prior to opening:

If the director of procurement determines that it is in the best interest of the college to cancel a solicitation prior to opening bids or proposals, all bids or proposals received will be returned to the vendors and a notice of cancellation will be included.  Criteria for the determination may include, but not be limited to:  restriction of funding for the project; imperfection in solicitation document; or defective notice of advertisement.

2.    Rejection of all bids or proposals:

If after opening solicitation responses, but prior to award, the director of procurement determines that it is in the best interest of the college to reject all bids or proposals, all open bids or proposals will be retained and a notice of rejection will be sent to all firms that submitted bids or proposals.  Criteria for rejection may include, but not be limited to: all responses exceed budgeted funds; imperfection in solicitation document discovered after public opening; or defective notice after opening that would prove injurious to responders.

The determination for the cancellation or rejection of a solicitation will be made part of the procurement file.  The director of procurement will notify the area vice president and president of all formal solicitations canceled or rejected.  The director of procurement has the right to waive any minor technicality or deficiency when it would be advantageous to the college.

Debriefing Unsuccessful Offerors

When a contract is to be awarded on some basis other than price alone, unsuccessful offerors may request a debriefing on their response by submitting a written request to the director of procurement within a reasonable time after the award of the solicitation.  Debriefings will be provided at the earliest feasible time after the board of trustees awards the contract.  The debriefing will be conducted by the director of procurement, in coordination with any other appropriate staff who are familiar with the rationale for the selection decision and contract award.  The debriefing will:  be limited to discussion of the unsuccessful offeror’s proposal; not include specific discussion of a competing offeror’s proposal; be factual and consistent with the evaluation of the unsuccessful offeror’s proposal; and provide information on areas in which the unsuccessful offeror’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.  A summary of the debriefing will be made a part of the procurement file.  The director of procurement may delay scheduling a debriefing if, in the director’s opinion, such a debriefing would compromise the solicitation process for another active solicitation.

Resolution of Protests

An interested party (bidder of standing or offeror) may protest to the director of procurement a proposed award of a contract.  A bidder of standing is a bidder who would be directly next in line for an award should the protest be supported.  The protest will be in writing and addressed to the director of procurement of the college.  Protests must be filed with the director within five (5) calendar days of the notification to the bidder or offeror that their bid or proposal has not been recommended for award.  The director will inform the appropriate vice president and the president upon receipt of the protest.  The director will confer with the appropriate member of the president’s team prior to issuance of a decision regarding protests of awards of $50,000 or more.  The director of procurement will issue a decision in writing.  Any decision of a bid award protest may be appealed to the president within two (2) days of issuance of the decision by the director of procurement.  The decision of the president is final.

Bid and Contract Security

When a contract is expected to cost $50,000 or more, the director of procurement is authorized to require submission of security for bid, performance, and payment bonds.  The solicitation will specify the required amount of security.  If the required bid security fails to accompany the bid, it will be deemed unresponsive, unless the director of procurement deems the failure to be non-substantial.  Performance and payment bonds are required in all construction contracts with a value of $50,000 or more and may be required in other contracts with a value of $50,000 or more.  Performance and payment bonds will be in the amount equal to at least 100 percent of the contract price.

Effective Date:   11/12/21

President's Office Use:  VPAF/PRES

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