In addition to the legal requirements contained within Ordinance No. 944 and Ordinance Number 2509, vendors must comply with the following:
The City uses several ways to secure prices, and according to the size and type of buy may use the following: formal bids, written quotes, competitive proposals, phone quotes, personal contacts, state contracts, GSA contracts, and other allowed purchasing networks or co-ops. All prices quoted are to be firm for at least 30 days unless specified otherwise by the vendor or a longer period may be requested by the City. All prices are to be quoted F.O.B. Gatlinburg.
The City awards purchases to vendors using criteria established in the ordinance. Normally, the City awards a purchase based on the lowest price offered for like products or services. However, the City reserves the right to consider factors other than price and award a purchase to another vendor when appropriate. Purchases awarded to other than low quote must be approved by the City Manager. Purchases awarded to other than low bid (as well as single bids) must be approved by City Commission.
The City issues accounts payable checks bi-monthly around the 15th and the last day of each month. Invoices of $500 or more should contain related Purchase Order number. A current form W-9 must be on file for a vendor before check will be released.
THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT PROCESS
Invitation for Bid
An invitation for bid is a request made to prospective suppliers for their quotation on specifically defined products and services that are anticipated to cost $5,000 or more.
How Bids are Solicited
Formal bid requirements will be solicited by an invitation for bid, and may be advertised in a local newspaper and posted on the City's website at least five days prior to final due date of bid submission. The advertisement will state the due date of bid submission. The advertisement will also state the general nature of the goods and services to be purchased, where bid forms and specifications may be obtained, and the time and place for the opening of the bid. In addition, solicitations may be mailed to selected bidders known to the City to be a supplier of a specific commodity or service, but any qualified vendor may participate in the bid process. The formal bid process from issuance to opening of bids generally takes three to four weeks.
After bids are opened, the evaluation process may take up to ninety days before an award is made. Preliminary bid results are usually posted on the city's website under Bid Results. These results will remain on the website for at least one month.
Information Contained in the Bid Request
Bid requests will contain a complete description of the commodities or services sought and other requirements that must be met by the bidder. They also will contain the date and time of the bid opening. Questions in reference to bids should be directed to the Finance Department or other responsibly party indicated on the bid cover sheet.
Award Protest Procedure
Occasionally, there may be complaints from vendors that the process of awarding a sealed bid has been unfair in some manner. While the City of Gatlinburg maintains excellent vendor relations, procedures do exist should a vendor claim that the process is not fair. The City of Gatlinburg has established the following procedures concerning protests of awards. The goal of these procedures to arrive at a just settlement of disputes between the City and its vendors.
As a first step, vendors who believe there has been a problem with the process or decision should contact the party associated with the bid in question. Most of the time this will be the Finance Director unless the bid has been handled by outside engineer or architect. Usually the one of these aforementioned parties will be able to explain the City's rationale for the decision and the vendor will be satisfied. However, if the vendor is still not satisfied the following steps may be taken:
The vendor must notify the Gatlinburg Finance Director, in writing, during the next three (3) business days. The City will not consider complaints filed electronically. Complaints received after (3) business days after the award decision has been made will not be considered for review. The envelope in which the protest is mailed should be clearly marked "Protest of Award Decision." The written protest should include:
1. The name and address of the protestor.
2. The bid name, bid number, date, and any other pertinent information.
3. A staatement of reason for the protest.
4. Any supporting documents, exhibits or evidence to substantiate the protest.
The Finance Director will deliver the protest to the City Manager for review and a decision will announce a decision (in writing). Recognizing that holding the procurement process up any longer than necessary is deterimental to the interests of the City, the Finance Director will announce the decision as soon as possible. In any case, a decision will be made within five (5) business days of the receipt of the protest.
Please note that in those cases where delaying the procurement process would endanger the health of the residents of the City of Gatlinburg, cause additional and extensive damage to the City or would adversely afftect its programs, the City will not stop the purchasing proccess.