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Thread: RFP and RFQ procedures

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ssc's avatar
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    Sep 2005
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    New York's beautiful Hudson Valley
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    When the city I work for received bids for a particular project, those bids are opened and read out loud in public at a specified time and place as per both city and state procurement law. However, when we issue an RFP or RFQ for professional services the proposals or qualifications packages are simply stamped with the date received and once the deadline for submission has passed the proposals or quals are reviewed by a committee and scored.

    But now some elected officials want to require that proposals or qualifications be opened and read in a public place at a specified time and date as is the case with bids. I am not exactly sure what they feel should be read aloud since, unlike bids received for a public works project, professional services are exempt from the low-bid requirement even if the proposals do include a cost. Soooo - are there any municipalities out there that do have a process for the public opening and reading of RFPs or RFQs? If so, how does it work?

    Addendum: I would be interested in knowing other municipalities' process for reviewing and selecting consultants to provide professional services in general. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    The RFP/RFQ process is inherently different than the bid process. As you note, and RFP may be very long. Reading them could take hours. In a bid process the key selection criteria is price, once the bidder is deemed qualified. In the RFP/RFQ process there are numerous critreia, including the respondant's qualifications, approach, deliverables, etc., which will vary from proposal to proposal. It is not simply a matter of looking to see who provided the lowest price. Most places distribute the proposals to the review committee once the deadline is reached, and then the review committee discusses them to select the best fit.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    When I worked in the public sector, all professional service bids were opened and documented by the Purchasing Department. At that point, it became a matter of public record so it could be requested by the public or interested party. If you don't have a Purchasing Department, you might still have a Purchasing Agent who could do the same.

    As noted, at least in my state too, professional service bids are not required to be the low bid, but the cost proposal could still be factored in to scoring. In each case, we had to draft a memorandum to Purchasing as to why we selected who we did. It did come under particular scrutiny if we did not choose the lowest bid, particularly a much lower bid, but we never had a problem explaining why we chose a higher cost proposal over a lower one.

    I've also dealt with agencies who had the cost proposal sealed separately from the technical proposal and only opened until the winning bid had been selected. In those instances, cost was not a factor in scoring.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ssc's avatar
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    Thanks Cardinal and FocusedOnFreight, you both confirmed what I was sure I knew up until I was questioned by the council. If they do insist on public opening and reading of proposals, I guess I will be able to log lots of comp time since it will take hours to read out a dozen or so proposals!

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Feb 1998
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    Greensburg, Kansas
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    Do it once. Make certain that those elected officials are invited. Announce the time of reading as, say 4:00pm to 3:00am. And, as with monetary bids, a person from purchasing needs to be there as witness. As NO ONE will show up, you can shut it down after 15 minutes. Or chat on and on about the pretty pictures. Mention repeatedly about the government waste ... of your time.

    Clearly your officials do not understand the RFP process. I hope you can teach them.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally posted by ssc View post
    Thanks Cardinal and FocusedOnFreight, you both confirmed what I was sure I knew up until I was questioned by the council. If they do insist on public opening and reading of proposals, I guess I will be able to log lots of comp time since it will take hours to read out a dozen or so proposals!
    It shouldn't really take that long. You might want to confer with your purchasing agent what you are required to read. From what I recall, all that needs to be read into record is the name of the firm, their location, and the bid. You shouldn't have to read the entire proposal.

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