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Vendor Information Guide

Introduction

This guide has been developed to help Vendors understand the procedures necessary to supply goods and services to the City of Opelika. If you need further assistance, please contact the purchasing department.

The principal objective of the Purchasing Department is to acquire quality goods and services for the many departments we represent, and to maximize the purchasing value of public funds.

All inquiries should be directed to:

City of Opelika Purchasing Department
P.O. Box 390
Opelika, Alabama 36803

Phone: (334) 705-5120
FAX: (334) 705-5128

E-mail address:    LFinley@opelika-al.gov        

The Purchasing Department for the City of Opelika knows how essential it is to conserve funds. The competitive solicitation process is an important part of attaining that objective. Your role as a vendor helps in that effort. Thank you, in advance, for your participation.

Code of Ethics

The City of Opelika Purchasing Department uses the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) Code of Ethics as our guideline.

The Institute believes, and it is a condition of membership, that the following ethical principles should govern the conduct of every person employed by a public sector procurement or materials management organization.

  • Seeks or accepts a position as head or employee only when fully in accord with the professional principles applicable thereto and when confident of possessing the qualifications to serve under those principles to the advantage of the employing organization.
  • Believes in the dignity and worth of the services rendered by the organization and the social responsibilities assumed as a trusted public servant.
  • Is governed by the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order to merit the respect and inspire the confidence of the organization and the public being served.
  • Believes that personal aggrandizement or personal profit obtained through misuse of public or personal relationships is dishonest and not tolerable.
  • Identifies and eliminates participation of any individual in operational situations where a conflict or interest may be involved.
  • Believes that members of the Institute and its staff should at no time or under any circumstances, accept directly or indirectly, gifts, gratuities or other things of value from suppliers, which might influence or appear to influence purchasing decisions.
  • Keeps the governmental organization informed, through appropriate channels, on problems and progress of applicable operations, but personally remains in the background by emphasizing the importance of the facts.
  • Resists encroachment on control of personnel in order to preserve integrity as a professional manager.  Handles all personnel matters on a merit basis.  Political, religious, racial, gender and age considerations carry no weight in personnel administration in the agency being directed or served.
  • Seeks or dispenses no personal favors.  Handles each administrative problem objectively and empathetically without discrimination.
  • Subscribes to and supports the professional aims and objectives of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc.

Becoming a Vendor

A vendor application with substitute W-9 form.

PDF Icon  Vendor Application Form

These forms may be completed online and electronically transmitted to the Purchasing Department. You may also send a request for a "vendor application" to be sent to you. Once completed and returned, you may either be sent a RFB/RFP or be called and asked to provide a quotation whenever a department makes a purchasing request for a product or service falling under your commodity code(s).

Procurement Methods

The Purchasing Department solicits prices for items or services - above a policy threshold amount - through either a RFB/RFP. These requests are based on specifications approved by the Purchasing officer and written with the intent of ensuring competition among vendors.

The RFB/RFP includes a detailed description of the commodity and/or service the City of Opelika desires to purchase. This description may include brand names. Vendors may bid/propose an alternate as long as it is the same in quality, design and performance. Descriptive literature must be included with the response. The vendor is responsible for demonstrating that alternate items meet the specifications. The decision of whether to accept an alternate rests solely with the City of Opelika. All items which are bid/proposed must be new and of the latest edition, version, model, or manufacturer unless otherwise specified in the document. If a model number is not the current model, state the current model noting the change. Queries concerning specifications should be brought to the attention of the purchasing officer as soon as possible so any valid issues can be addressed.

Verbal conversations with purchasing officers or the requesting department are undocumented communications and do not waive or modify the requirements of a solicitation. The Purchasing officer will review all inquiries and, if a modification to the RFB/RFP is appropriate, will issue an addendum to all the vendors to whom the solicitation documents have been sent and will be posted on our website.

How Vendors provide Bids/Proposals

A vendor should do the following in preparing and submitting a bid/proposal document to the City of Opelika Purchasing Department.

  1. Thoroughly read and understand the RFB/RFP documents, including all specifications, terms and conditions. A vendor should contact the purchasing officer whose name appears on the solicitation documents for clarification of any information within the document
  2. Bids/Proposals for alternate products may be submitted, but are expected to meet or exceed the desired specifications.
  3. Note any substitutes to the requested specifications either on the documents or in a letter of explanation accompanying their bid/proposal.
  4. Indicate the price in the proper areas of the solicitation (in ink) for the unit size requested. Reconcile itemized prices with a total bid/proposal price.
  5. Corrections, erasures, and clarifications of pricing must be made in ink and initialed by the vendor.
  6. Indicate delivery terms and shipment information. If an extended period is inserted instead of a single shipping date, the City of Opelika will consider the latest date with the period in determining whether or not the bid/proposal is responsive, in the event delivery is to be a determinant factor in the award.
  7. An officer or authorized agent of the Vendor must sign the bid/proposal to be considered for award.
  8. Include literature which will help the City of Opelika determine whether the bid/proposal meets specifications unless the solicitation indicates literature is not required.
  9. Submit the bid/proposal by the stated date and time, and follow submission and mailing instructions accompanying the RFB/RFP. The response must be time stamped into the Purchasing Department prior to the time and date indicated in the RFB/RFP document.
   Request for Bid

A request for Bid is the preferred method for acquiring goods and services for the City of Opelika. This method of solicitation is determined by the estimated dollar amount of the commodity or service.

Bids will be opened in the Conference Room at the due date and time indicated in the bid document. Responses are publicly opened, read aloud and held for review by the respective Department. Recommendations will be submitted and action taken at the next appropriate Council meeting.

Evaluating Responses to Request for Bid (RFB)

A Purchasing officer uses the Request for Bid to solicit pricing for most purchases. At anytime the Purchasing Department reserves the right to reject any or all bids/proposals and re-solicit for pricing.

A Purchasing officer uses the Request for Bid to solicit pricing for most purchases. At anytime the Purchasing Department reserves the right to reject any or all bids/proposals and re-solicit for pricing.

The Purchasing officer evaluates the lowest bid received to determine if it is responsible and meets the specifications listed. General conditions are included in all documents. If it meets specifications, a recommendation for award is made, otherwise the department requesting the item or service continues to review bids until the lowest bid meeting specifications is identified.

Factors that may be used (as defined in the bid solicitation) include, but are not limited to unit price, installation costs, delivery costs, maintenance and cost of operating, etc. In case of a discrepancy between a unit price and its extension, the unit price will be considered correct.

In the event of identical line item bids/quotations by multiple vendors, an award shall be determined in the following order:

  1. Discount advantage offered to the City of Opelika.
  2. Local supplier. An approved supplier of materials and services who maintains a distributing, manufacturing or processing facility within the confines of the city limits of the City of Opelika, and occupying real property or returning personal property appearing in the ad valorem tax rolls of the district.
  3. State supplier. An approved supplier of materials and services who maintains a distributing, manufacturing, or processing facility within the confines of the State of Alabama, but outside the city limits of the City of Opelika.

Request for Proposal (RFP)

A Request for Proposal asks for the vendor to provide a solution (e.g., service, construction or equipment) to meet a particular purpose. The City will select the proposal for award which offers the best overall solution.

All responses to Requests for Proposals are publicly opened and acknowledged by the due date and time set forth in the proposal document. Contents are not displayed to the public. Recommendations will be submitted and action taken at the City Council meeting, if required, which is held twice each month on the first and third Tuesdays. A schedule of City Council meetings can be obtained from the City Clerk's office or by clicking here.

Evaluating Responses to Requests for Proposal

Use of the Request for Proposal (RFP) indicates the City of Opelika's interest in soliciting solutions for a project, service, or technical project. It differs from a Request for Bid in that the City is seeking a solution, not a bid, meeting firm specifications for the lowest price. As such, the lowest price proposed will not guarantee an award recommendation. Competitive Sealed Proposals are evaluated based upon criteria formulated around the most important features of a product or service, of which quality, testing, reference, availability or capability, may be overriding factors, and price may not be determinative in the issuance of a contact or award. The proposal evaluation criteria should be viewed as standards which measure how well a vendor's approach meets the desire requirements and needs of the City of Opelika. Those criteria that will be used and considered in evaluation for award are set forth in the RFP. The City of Opelika will thoroughly review all proposals received.

The City of Opelika will also utilize its best judgment when determining whether to schedule a pre-proposal conference (before proposals are accepted) or meetings with vendors after receiving proposals. The award of competitive sealed proposals will be determined by the Purchasing Office with the assistance from representatives of the department / division normally using the product or service. Proposed base pricing may be disclosed at a public meeting to receive and file responses of solicitations. A Purchase Order/Contract will be awarded to a qualified vendor submitting the best proposal.

The Purchasing Officer reserves the right to discuss any or all parts of the RFP with proposers, request written clarification of proposal information, or best and final offers when in the best interest of the City of Opelika.

RFB/RFP Due Dates

All responses to RFB/RFP must be received in the City of Opelika Purchasing Department prior to the time and date shown on the document. All responses are to be returned in a sealed container/envelope that is marked with the firm name and address on the outside of the container/envelope. Also, the lower left-hand corner must be marked with the RFB/RFP number, solicitation opening date and time. All solicitations are time stamped when received in the City of Opelika Purchasing Department. Our clock will be the official time.

Late responses to RFB/RFP will not be opened, stamped as "late", and will not be returned to the vendor.

Mistakes in Bids/Proposals

Mistakes in response to bids/proposals, actual or alleged, are not uncommon and can present serious problems. The general rule is that no change or corrections will be permitted which would prejudice the interest of the public or would be unfair to other vendors. For this reason, remedies for mistakes in responses to bids/proposals become less available as the procurement process moves forward.

Prior to RFB/RFP opening/closing, a vendor may correct a mistake or withdraw the bid/proposal by submitting an amendment to their response or by submitting a written request that their response be withdrawn. A multiplication error may be corrected in the extension of a price so that the unit price provided prevails. Where a mistake or omission is not evident in a response and a vendor points out an error with clear and objective evidence prior to award, it is in order to allow the response to be withdrawn but not corrected.

Common mistakes made by vendors include:

RE-Solication for Pricing

Occasionally it becomes necessary to re-solicit pricing for commodities and/or services. This may occur for the following reasons:

Purchase Orders

One of the final steps in the procurement process is the issuance of a purchase order or contract. This is accomplished by written notification to the lowest responsible bidder/proposer who meets the requirements and criteria in the RFB/RFP.

An official purchase order is a legal document which, when accepted by receipt and subsequent action, binds the identified vendor to provide the product or services referenced. Purchase orders generally reference an official bid/proposal and the individual responsible for the submission of such.

In addition to the description of the item or service required, quantity, and pricing, purchase orders identify the using department of the City of Opelika, a Purchasing Officer, delivery location, and directions for submittal of invoicing.

Occasionally, written contracts are issued as requested by a vendor, or due to extensive instructions and conditions which can not be stated in the limited space of a purchase order. In such cases, the City of Opelika will make every effort to request sample contract language in advance for review.

Contracts

Vendors are not to ship merchandise nor perform services without a purchase order issued by the Purchasing department via fax, U.S. mail or phone. Purchase order numbers need to appear on all shipments, delivery slips and invoices. All orders are to be shipped F.O.B. to the indicated delivery point unless otherwise specified.

Vendors are not to ship merchandise nor perform services without a purchase order issued by the Purchasing department via fax, U.S. mail or phone. Purchase order numbers need to appear on all shipments, delivery slips and invoices. All orders are to be shipped F.O.B. to the indicated delivery point unless otherwise specified.

The information reprinted, written and/or typed on the front of the purchase order is a binding agreement/contract between the City of Opelika and the providing vendor. Any discrepancies or disagreements need to be addressed in writing immediately to the Purchasing department. If no response is submitted, we will presume that the vendor is in agreement with the specified terms and will meet the obligations as indicated on the purchase order.

Items must be delivered by the delivery date that has been agreed upon at the time the order was placed. The Purchasing function is not complete until all items have been delivered in satisfactory condition. When necessary, follow-up action will be taken. A vendor must supply products and/or services according to the solicitation and award. Failure to comply accordingly within the stated time could result in contract cancellation. The Vendor could be responsible for any changes and therefore ineligible to participate in a rebid.

As a matter of good purchasing practice, we periodically evaluate all vendors on a basis of actual performance compared to promised delivery date, ability to meet our rush requirements, unauthorized split shipments, number of rejects due to poor quality, and adherence to purchase order price. Subsequent buying decisions are strongly influenced by this evaluation. Unsatisfactory service, unethical or illegal conduct ratings may result in removal from our authorized vendor list.

After notice to the Vendor and the opportunity for a meeting with the City of Opelika Purchasing Agent, the Vendor may be barred from receiving and submitting bids/proposals and from award of the City of Opelika procurements.

Contract Adjustments

Only the Purchasing Department has authority to modify a contract. If the requesting department's requirements change after the award, the Purchasing Department has sole authority to approve mutually acceptable modifications.

Only the Purchasing Department has authority to modify a contract. If the requesting department's requirements change after the award, the Purchasing Department has sole authority to approve mutually acceptable modifications.

Assurance

The Purchasing Department shall have the right to request any or all of the following assurances from vendors to satisfy the City of Opelika's concern of conducting business and/or verify the ability of a vendor to provide described services.

  1. Bid/Proposal Bond - to be submitted by the Vendor with their response to a Request for Bid/Proposal in the amount of approximately five percent (5%) of the total amount bid/proposed. Such bond will be used to ensure that the awarded vendor will enter into a contract/accept a purchase order to provide the agreed upon materials/services.
    • Vendors may provide such bond in the form of a Bid Bond from an accredited insurance company or certified/cashier's check made payable to the City of Opelika.
    • The Purchasing Department shall have the right to retain the Bid/Proposal bonds of all vendors until as such time it is determined that an award can be made.
  2. Performance Bond - to be submitted by the Vendor selected for award to assure the City that the described/contracted materials/services will be provided. Generally, the amount is equal to one hundred percent (100%) of the total amount bid/proposed.
    • Vendors shall provide such bond in an AIA format or from an accredited insurance company as approved by the City of Opelika Purchasing Agent or Risk Manager.
    • The Purchasing department shall retain the right to increase the amount of the performance bond to allow for contingencies or modifications to contractual amounts.
  3. Letter of Credit - to be submitted by the Vendor selected for award to assure the financial capacity to provide goods and/or services during a contractual period.
  4. Labor and Material Payment Bond - Labor and Material Bond shall be submitted by successful vendor for a construction project as surety, payable to the City of Opelika for not less than 50% of the contract price, with the obligation that such contractor shall promptly make payments to all persons supplying him/her with labor, materials or supplies for the payment of reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by successful claimants or plaintiffs in civil actions on said bond. Bonds are not required on contracts of less than $10,000.00.
  5. Insurance Certificate - to be submitted by the vendor selected for award to assure the City the protection is available and that the City is protected as an additional assured for provision of materials, labor/services, motor vehicle liability and worker's compensation requirements. The City of Opelika Risk Manager shall be consulted to determine the applicable amounts.
    • Vendors shall provide a certificate from an accredited insurance company and in a format approved by the Risk Manager that will remain in effect for the entire contractual period.
  6. Financial Statements - to be submitted by the vendor selected for award to assure the City of their ability to fiscally provide the described services. The City of Opelika shall retain the right to request audited/reviewed financial statements, current affidavits of financial standings, annual reports, or conduct their own investigation to satisfy and protects its interest before entering into a contractual agreement.

Samples

Samples, when required, must be furnished free of expense to the City of Opelika. Samples not consumed in testing will be returned to the vendor at their expense, if requested and noted in their response to the bid/proposal.

Trade-Ins

The City of Opelika may request bids/proposals for new equipment that involves trade-ins of used equipment. In such cases, a price should be provided for both the trade-in and the item requested. The City of Opelika reserves the right to purchase equipment either with or without trade-in.

Inspections

All goods received by the City of Opelika are subject to inspection and testing. If goods are found to be defective or fail to meet the solicitation specifications, the City of Opelika shall have the right to reject the goods and shall hold the vendor responsible for return and replacement to the City of Opelika's satisfaction.

Submitting Invoices

To ensure that vendor invoices are paid in a timely manner, it is important that the description of the items and the prices match the Purchase Order/Contract. The invoice must contain the Purchase Order and/or Payment Voucher number. The invoice(s) should be forwarded to the "bill to address" as indicated on the Purchase Order. Contact the Accounting Department if payments are not received in the desired time.

A Purchase Order/Contract may allow for a partial shipment to be delivered and paid for as items are received. Once the using department has accepted goods and/or services it is the responsibility of the City to pay for items that have been obtained.

Discrepancies between billing amounts and Purchase order amounts should be addressed with the Purchasing Department.

Payment Discounts

Cash discounts for prompt payments will not be considered in evaluation of bids unless otherwise stated in the RFB/RFP. The discount time will not begin until the City of Opelika receives all of the commodities or services. If testing is required, the discount time will begin upon completion of the testing.

Tax Responsibility

All City of Opelika departments are exempt from paying state sales tax.

Limited Purchase Authority Methods

In certain circumstances departments are authorized to use limited purchase authority methods (Procurement Cards) with approval from the Purchasing Department and the Accounting Department to expedite the purchasing process.

The Director of Purchasing (or designee) and the Controller (or designee) shall have the authority to determine the maximum Limited Purchasing Authority Method.

Disclosure Of Information

Documents the Purchasing Department issues or receives in soliciting, evaluating, and awarding Requests for Bid procurement are generally open to public inspection after the award of the contract. Vendors or members of the public may contact the Purchasing Department at that time and are asked to put requests in writing and address them to the attention of the Purchasing Director for consideration.

Documents which the Purchasing Department issues or receives in soliciting, evaluating, and awarding Requests for Proposal are considered proprietary and are not available for public inspection.

Documents the Purchasing Department issues or receives in soliciting, evaluating, and awarding Requests for Bid procurement are generally open to public inspection after the award of the contract. Vendors or members of the public may contact the Purchasing Department at that time and are asked to put requests in writing and address them to the attention of the Purchasing Director for consideration, using the attached Request for Public Records form.

A Final Word

It is the responsibility of the Purchasing Department to see that the City departments are provided with the goods and/or services they need quickly, efficiently and economically. We are unable to provide quality service to the City of Opelika departments without active participation and cooperation from our suppliers.