Procurement Policies

Board of Trustees Policy: 5.8

Date: December 1, 2023

Supersedes: December 2021, December 2019, December 2018, October 2017, June 2016, October 2011, January 2005, September 2004


Policy

1. Authority and Responsibility for Purchasing Goods and Services

A. This procurement policy is intended to comply with all applicable laws and procurement regulations of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, specifically those outlined in Chapter 35 of the Pennsylvania Code and the Community College Act of 1963, as well as those set forth by the OMB Uniform Guidance: Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (“Omni/Super Circular” 2C.F.R.200), when applicable.

B. The Procurement Director is responsible for negotiation/issuance of contracts that provide the College with "best value" supplier arrangements for goods and services, ensuring compliance with College procurement policy, and establishing an equitable and efficient competitive bidding process. 

C. The Vice President for Finance will establish and the Procurement Director will maintain procedures to provide for the efficient and responsible conduct of all procurement activities.

D. Authority to enter into purchase contracts or, in any way, obligate the College for procurement indebtedness or involve risk exposure is subject to the following approval structure.

    • College Buyer - purchases up to $5,000
    • College Procurement Director and Vice President of Pottstown Campus,  Information Technology and Institutional Effectiveness- purchases up to $50,000
    • Vice President of Finance - purchases up to $100,000
    • College President - purchases up to $250,000
    • Board of Trustees - all goods, equipment, or services in excess of $250,000

These approval levels shall apply regardless of the solicitation method used (sealed bid, request for proposals, etc.). The appropriate level of signing authority should be based on projected cumulative spend with a vendor per project inclusive of multi-part projects or phases. 

E. All single acquisitions of goods, equipment, or services of $100,000 or greater must be brought to the Board of Trustees as an informational item at the next available meeting. Additionally at the first Board meeting after the conclusion of the fiscal year, the Board shall be provided with a list of all vendors with which the college spent $100,000 or more cumulatively during the prior fiscal year.

F. Because of their significance to the College and the responsibilities of the Board of Trustees, the following professional services, require Board approval at the time a change in provider is considered or a new contract for services is required: 

  • Regardless of cost: Public Accounting Services, Banking Services, Legal Services, Insurance Broker Services, Investment Management Services
  • Any other professional service provider with a cumulative annual expense of two-hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or greater.

G. Any negotiations by an unauthorized individual will not be honored by the College, and the individual will assume a personal obligation to the vendor. Firms ordinarily doing business with the College will be advised that all purchases chargeable to the College must be authorized by an official College purchase order or contract signed by an authorized individual, with the exception of purchase card transactions made in compliance with the Procurement card procedures. See Procurement Card Procedures. The College will not reimburse officers or employees for the cost of any such purchases on behalf of the College unless previous arrangements to that end have been made.

H. All purchases must be made for the purpose of College activities. Purchasing any goods or services for personal use is prohibited.

2. Code of Conduct

The Procurement Office staff, as stewards of the College’s resources, should have a strong sense of professional ethics and will abide by the Code of Ethics published by the National Association of Educational Procurement (NAEP).

3. Gifts, Gratuities and Favors

A. College employees, officers and agents may not solicit or accept any gift, gratuity, favor, or anything of monetary value from contractors, potential contractors, and parties to sub-agreements, vendors, or parties to sub-agreements that are, or appear to be, given to influence procurement of goods or services.

B. Unsolicited gifts or gratuities that are valued under one hundred ($100.00) dollars may be accepted. Acceptable items may include:

      • Promotional items such as pens, pencils, tablets, cups, mouse pads, etc.
      • Items serving as tokens of appreciation such as candy, baked goods, and other miscellaneous items of nominal value.

C. In the event that a conflict of interest or appearance of same exists, the employee should report the conflict to his/her supervisor who would then report the conflict to the Chief of Staff or President's designee, the Vice President of Finance, and Vice President of Administrative Services for review. 

4. Purchases from Related Parties

A. The Board of Trustees of Montgomery County Community College have adopted policies establishing comprehensive guidelines for dealing with conflicts of interest on the part of trustees, faculty, administrators and support staff of the College. This policy supplements, but does not modify or replace the other College policies on this subject. Refer to 2.8 and 6.16 of Board of Trustees Policy Manual.

B. College employees, affiliates, or representatives of the organization should certify and be willing to recuse themselves in instances of perceived conflicts of interest. 

C. College faculty or staff will not knowingly select, solicit, acquire goods from, or administer a contract with any related party. A related party is defined as any supplier or service provider that:

  • Is owned, controlled, or actively influenced (with regard to any proposed transaction with the College) by any employee, faculty member or their immediate families; or
  • Employs, or will employ, any person who is an employee or faculty member of the College, or their immediate families.

D. Any transaction from a related party prior to the issuance of a purchase order must be reviewed by the Chief of Staff or President's designee, the Vice President of Finance, and the Vice President of Administrative Services. See the Approval of Transactions From A Related Party Form (PDF).

5. Compliance with Procurement Policies

A. Authorization to suppliers for the purchase of products and services must be made through an approved College purchase order or other Procurement card use. Verbal authorization to ship goods or to approve the rendering of services without issuing a purchase order number is prohibited

B. Any contract or agreement that in any way obligates the College for procurement indebtedness and requires signature authorization must be reviewed by Procurement and where applicable our outside Legal Firm prior to execution. All fully executed contracts are to be archived by Procurement.

6. Contract Compliance

A. All College contract supplier information and pricing is to be treated as proprietary information and may not be (a) shared unless legally required or (b) used for any purposes other than official College business. College contract information is not to be:

  • Provided to other suppliers or anyone outside the college;
  • Used in any unethical fashion;
  • Used for personal purchases or private gain

B. Misuse of supplier data will be considered improper handling of institutional data.

7. Responsibility of Bidders / Offerors

A. To be determined a responsible bidder or offeror, a prospective contractor must submit certifications demonstrating compliance with responsibility requirements and must comply with any requests to submit additional documentation. Factors for consideration include whether the contractor:

  • Has access to the appropriate resources and expertise to meet contractual requirements – financial, material, equipment, facilities, personnel etc.
  • Has a satisfactory record of performance and integrity
  • Is not suspended or deemed ineligible for award by any state or local jurisdiction or agency of the United States Government

B. Failure to provide requested documentation in connection with an inquiry concerning responsibility may render the bidder ineligible for award.

C. If a bidder who would have otherwise been awarded a contract is found to be not responsible, a copy of a written determination from the Office of the Vice President of Finance will be sent to the bidder.

D. Bidders seeking the award of a construction project may be required to produce additional documentation to satisfy this requirement (See number 16 - Determination of Responsibility for Construction Contractors).  

8. Assistance to Local, Diverse, and Disadvantaged Businesses

A. The College supports local, diverse, and disadvantaged businesses in its procurement processes, as diversity fosters positive economic impacts and increases competition within the College’s pool of suppliers for goods and services, including construction services.

B. The College is committed to including local, diverse, and disadvantaged businesses in its procurement processes whenever possible.

  • For the purpose of this policy the following definitions will apply:
    • A local business is a business with location(s) in Montgomery County.
    • A diverse business is a business that is at least 51 percent owned by a minority, woman, veteran, LGBT individual, or an individual with a disability.
    • A disadvantaged business is a small business that is owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons as defined in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 26, or Title 13 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 124, and certified in accordance with those federal regulations.
  • The College requests best-effort and good faith efforts to achieve participation targets of 5 - 10% minority owned businesses, 5-10% women owned business, 5 - 10% diverse owned businesses, and 5-10% local businesses in construction projects. 
  • The College, as appropriate will include price preferences or evaluation credit for local, diverse, or disadvantaged business status in solicitations for goods and services, including construction services.

C.  The College will assist local, diverse, and disadvantaged businesses in understanding the College’s procurement process.

D. The College will place local, diverse, and disadvantaged businesses on solicitation lists.

E. The College’s Director of Procurement is responsible for providing annual reports of local, diverse, and disadvantage business participation. The Director of Procurement will provide data to the Finance and Institutional Risk Committee (FIRC) of the College’s Board of Trustees to assist the FIRC in adjusting the baseline of current participation as well as goals and targets for future participation. The FIRC will review outcomes and will provide feedback to the Director of Procurement and Vice President of Finance.

This section on assisting to local, diverse and disadvantaged businesses shall not be applicable where prohibited by federal, state or local law or where the application of this section may jeopardize the receipt of federal or state funds.

10. Procurements Less than $5,000 (*Excluding purchases with federal grant funds)

The College requires a one quote minimum for all supplies, services, and equipment for purchases less than or equal to $4,999.99.

11. Procurements $5,000 or Greater and Less Than $25,000 (*Excluding purchases with federal grant funds)

A. The College must solicit competitive quotations from at least three (3) responsible vendors for all supplies, services, and equipment related to the same project with a total cost of Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), but less than Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000) unless identifies as "exempt" in section K. 

B. Transactions to the same vendor related to the same project or scope of work that occur in the same 12-month rolling year will be treated as cumulative regardless of when the remittance is made. 

C. A contract shall be awarded to the lowest responsive and responsbile vendor meeting specifications. 

D. Normally, a minimum of three quotes from qualified sources of supply will be required. However, circumstances may exist when fewer than three quotes or more than three quotes may be appropriate. 

  • The Procurement Department will accept fewer than three quotes only in cases where the normal competitive bidding process cannot be conducted. Purchase orders for which at least three quotes cannot be obtained must be accompanied by a completed Vendor Selection Form on which the circumstances are explained. Either the College President, Vice President of Finance, or Procurement Director is authorized by the Board of Trustees to sign the waiver. 

E. The Procurement Department is authorized to determine when more than three bids will be required.  

12. Competitive Bidding over $25,000 (Other than for Construction and Facility Maintenance)

Unless specifically exempt, as defined below in Section 13, the College must solicit competitive bids or proposals if a total order is Twenty-Five Thousand Dollars ($25,000) or more for non-construction purchases or Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000) or more or construction and facilities maintenance contracts. See Bidding Procedures. 

13. Exemptions from Competitive Bidding

The following situations are exempt* from competitive bid requirements but require submission of a Vendor Selection Form (PDF). This justification must be approved by the Procurement Director prior to issuance of a purchase order or contract. Purchases exempt from competitive bid requirements are still subject to the regular approval process.

*Note: No exemptions using federal funding. See 17-Procurement with Federal Grant Funds.

  • The equipment can be obtained from only one person or firm (sole source of supply);
  • Competition is precluded because of the existence of patent rights, copyright, or similar circumstances;
  • Goods, equipment or services needed at once because of an emergency. These may be purchased without bid or proposal at the discretion of the President, but must be brought before the Board for retroactive approval at the next available meeting.
  • For professional services at the discretion of the Director of Procurement. 
  • The contemplated procurement is for components being procured in support of equipment specially designed by the manufacturer;
  • The contemplated procurement is for technical services in connection with the assembly, installation, or servicing or the instruction of personnel therein of equipment of a highly technical or specialized nature;
  • The contemplated procurement is for labor and material required for providing immediate accommodation in support of the installation of new equipment/systems which can be accomplished by a vendor already on site; and it would not be practical to allow another vendor to work on the same site or when it would be considered impractical for another vendor to mobilize and demobilize;
  • The purchase of goods or services from College Contract Suppliers or from State Contracts and/or Educational Procurement Cooperatives approved by the College Board of Trustees. The Procurement Department is authorized to require competitive bids for purchases from College contract suppliers, State Contract suppliers and/or Educational Procurement Cooperatives if in its judgment, cost savings may be realized, or other College objectives accomplished;
  • Contracts involving policies of insurance, surety company bonds, contracts with internet access companies, contracts with public utility services or telephone companies under tariffs on file with the Public Utility Commission, contracts made with another political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the federal government and any agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any municipality authority;
  • Contracts for films, textbooks, prepared kits, models, teacher demonstration devices necessary for College use, and library books and materials;
  • Integral equipment repair parts, accessories or equipment that must be compatible with existing equipment or fixtures;
  • Software (renewals/leasing) or software support that must be compatible with existing software or for which it would be impractical or excessively costly for another vendor to provide the software or software support.

Please note that goods and services exempted from competitive bidding requirements are subject to Board notification an approvel as per Section 1 and are subject to reporting provisions of the Pennsylvania Right to Know (RTK) law.

14. Lease vs. Purchase

A. The Vice President of Finance has the authority and responsibility to determine the most appropriate method of acquiring equipment, i.e., purchase or lease (capital and operating) of $100,000 or more.

B. The Vice President of Finance also has the responsibility to evaluate each external third party lease over $100,000 for proper accounting and reporting treatment (i.e., capital or operating).

C. Procurement has the authority and responsibility to review and execute all supplier leased contracts on behalf of the College.

D. While it is not recommended, external third party leases are permitted only when the Office of Finance determines that economic benefits will be realized. Such benefits may include lower cash payments, beneficial financing terms, and/or decreased risk, e.g., obsolescence, assumed by the College. However, generally third party leases are not cost effective and, in the case of capital leases, create reporting requirements. Outright purchase is the most preferred method of acquiring equipment.

E. The procurement of equipment via an external third party lease with a total lease payment cost of $5,000 or more is subject to the College’s competitive quotation/bidding policy and request for equipment lease approval procedure.

15. Construction and Facility Maintenance Procurement

The Board of Trustees may perform any construction, reconstruction, repairs, or work of any nature, by its own maintenance personnel or may have the work performed under contract in the following circumstances.

      1. In accordance with Pennsylvania Code §35.51, if a contract equals or exceeds Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00), the College shall, with public notice, solicit competitive bids and shall award a contract to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.
      2. If a contract equals or exceeds Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), but is less than Twenty Thousand Dollars ($20,000.00), the College shall solicit competitive quotes from at least three (3) responsible firms.
      3. If a contract is less than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), the College may award a contract without soliciting competitive bids.
      4. In an emergency in which any part of the College plant may become unusable and cause interruption to the normal operations of the College, the President may, after consulting with the Chair of the Board of Trustees, award a contract for emergency repairs.
      5. Bids under public notice shall be sealed and received in a designated manner and time. Bid reading results shall be posted and available publicly and the contract awarded thereon. The College shall retain the right to accept or reject any or all bids or parts of solicitations, to waive informalities in bids and quotes, or to reissue the solicitation. The College further reserves the right to award the contract on a split order, lump sum, or individual item basis, or such combination as shall best serve the interest of the College unless otherwise specified by the College. In case of errors of price extensions, unit prices shall govern.
      6. Bids under public notice for construction, reconstruction and repair shall be accompanied by a bond with corporate surety or certified check in an amount as the board of trustees determines, but at least 5% of the amount bid. If a bidder, upon award of the contract, fails to comply with the requirements as to a bond guaranteeing the performance of the contract, the bid bond or certified check shall be forfeited.
      7. The bidder to whom the contract is awarded shall furnish bonds to guarantee the performance of the contract and payment for labor and materials. Bonds shall be in compliance with the Public Works Contractors’ Bond Law of 1967 (8 P. S. § § 191—202). Failure to furnish bonds shall void the previous award.
            • The contractor shall purchase and maintain throughout the period of the contract the insurance required by the College as shown in bid specifications, and shall meet all requirements shown therein.

        Conditions

        • College is to be named as an additional insured on the insurance certification.
        • All certificates to contain a 60-day notice of cancellation
        • The contractor shall obtain and furnish the College certificates for any subcontractors subject to the above terms and conditions.
        • General liability policy shall contain a per job location aggregate
        • All insurance policies and/or bonds will be written with insurance companies licensed to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and subject to the approval of the College.

16. Determination of Responsibility for Construction Contractors

To be considered a responsible bidder for contracts of $250,000 or less, in addition to the requirements aforementioned under Responsibility of Bidders / Offerors, construction contractors may be required to show:

A. A record of compliance with labor laws, including OSHA and prevailing wage laws.

B. An apprenticeship program approved and registered with the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for each apprenticeable trade or occupation represented in their workforce.

C. Comprehensive medical and hospitalization benefits for employees and their families.

17. Procurement with Federal Grant Funds

Notwithstanding any herein contained to the contrary, when federal monies are being used for non-construction, the bidding threshold shall be in accordance with Omni/Super Circular, 2 C.F.R. 200 as last amended. There may be instances where Federal grant requirements take precedence over College policy.

A. Grant Acquisitions: Budget Managers/Stakeholders should consult with Procurement regarding the appropriate means of procurement following federal guidelines. For larger aquisitions, it may be necessary to use one of the following: 

  • Micro-purchases: The College must obtain one quote.
  • Small purchases: The College must solicit competitive quotations from at least three (3) responsible vendors. 
  • Sealed bidding: For fixed price contracts
    • Must be advertised publicly
    • Contain specifications
    • Must be opened in a public forum
    • Must be awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.
  • Competitive Proposals: Used when conditions for sealed bids is not appropriate.
    • Request competitive proposals (RFPs) when sealed bids are not appropriate.
    • Both fixed price and cost reimbursement contracts may be awarded.
    • Must be advertised publicly
    • Written method for conducting technical evaluations must be in place.
    • Awarded on price and other factors.
  • Non-competitive Proposals: Permissible only under special circumstances.
    • Item is only available from a single source;
    • Emergency purchase that will not permit a delay for competitive solicitation;
    • Written authorization from the federal awarding agency to use sole source;
    • After soliciting a number of sources, it is determined that competition inadequate

B. Prior to initiating the procurement processes, the grant recipient, together with Procurement and the Grant Office must:

  • Review the proposed procurement to avoid any unnecessary and/or duplicate purchase of equipment, supplies, and services.
  • Determine if the consolidation of purchases will save time and money
  • When applicable, perform a lease vs buy analysis.
  • Perform a cost analysis in connection with all purchases in excess of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold.
  • Research opportunities to utilize state or local intergovernmental agreements for purchasing equipment, supplies, and services.
  • Incorporate a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the supplies, materials, products, or services to be procured.
    • Ensure the description does not, in competitive procurements, contain features which unduly restricted competition.
  • Prohibit restricting competition.
  • When using a prequalified list of entities or products, ensure that the lists are “current and include enough qualified sources to ensure maximum open and free competition,” and do not preclude any other potential entities or products from participating in the solicitation.
  • Use federal surplus federal property, when feasible, when purchasing supplies and equipment.

C. All solicitation of bid and quotes must, when possible, be made available to minority firms and business enterprises.

  • Awards of contracts or bids must not be based on local geographic preferences, except where applicable Federal statutes expressly mandate or encourage geographic preference.
  • Small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises shall be placed on solicitation lists;
  • Ensure that small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises are solicited whenever they are considered potential sources for products and services;
  • When possible, divide requirements into smaller tasks or quantities to allow for participation by small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises;
  • Establish delivery schedules which encourage participation by small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises;
  • Utilize the services and assistance of the Small Business Administration and the Minority Business Development Agency;
  • Require contractors to take the same steps listed above.

D. Contract terms for agreements paid, in whole or in part, with federal grant funds.

  • All federally grant funded contracts must include all applicable provisions described in the Contract Provisions for non-Federal Entity Contract under Federal Awards.
  • Prior to execution of any contract, Procurement must verify that the contractor is not listed on the Excluded Parties List in the System for Award Management (SAM).
  • Value engineering clauses must be included in any contracts for construction projects of sufficient size to offer reasonable opportunities for cost reductions.
  • Contract performance and payments will be monitored during the course of the contract.

E. Procurement Record Retention

  • For all purchases made with federal grant funds, Procurement will retain documents detailing the history of the purchase. This includes:
    • Records showing the rationale for the method of procurement;
    • Rational for the selection of the contract type;
    • Rationale for the contractor selection or rejection; and
    • Bases for the contract price.

18. Procurement with Federal Grant Funds

Grants may have unique procurement guidelines. Unless otherwise specified, College procurement procedures must be followes as outlined. 

19. Disposal of Property

A. Property and equipment procured with grant funds, when no longer needed for the original project or program, may be used in other activities supported by the awarding agency.

B. Before disposition of property or equipment, the College must verify the federal awarding agency disposition instructions.

C. Procurement will sell or otherwise dispose of all property that is no longer in use. See Disposal Request Form.