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Procurement Guide for Businesses
Table of Contents

Introduction
The Purchasing Department acts as a liaison between suppliers and all town departments. Our goal is to provide goods and services in the proper quantity and quality, at the lowest possible cost, to town departments. All purchasing activities are performed in accordance with applicable federal and state laws and town ordinances to afford an equal opportunity for all vendors to compete in the bidding process.

Additionally, as a member of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), the town may participate in, sponsor, conduct or administer a cooperative procurement agreement with one or more public bodies, or agencies of the United States, for the purpose of combining requirements to increase efficiency, reduce costs or reduce administrative expenses.

The purpose of this guide is to help you, the vendor, understand the procurement policies and procedures of the Town of Vienna. It is a general guide; and as such, it may not answer all your questions. For additional information, feel free to contact the purchasing agent at (703) 255-6359 or by fax at (703) 255-5729.

This guide may be updated from time to time, at the town's discretion. The latest version of this guide is maintained by the Purchasing Department. Should there be a conflict between this version and federal, state or town laws, policies or procedures, the applicable federal, state or town laws, policies or procedures will control.

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Ethics
The ethical responsibilities of vendors, town employees and agents of the town having official responsibility for a procurement transaction are set out in Public Contracting of the Virginia Public Procurement Act (VPPA), Section 2.2-4367. Further, employees of the Purchasing Department are held to the high ethical standards of the National Institute of Governmental Purchasing, Inc. (NIGP) Code of Ethics.

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Office Hours
Town business hours are from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, excluding town holidays.

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Sales Visits
The Purchasing Department acts as a liaison between suppliers and town departments. Sales representatives are a valuable resource for obtaining specifications and information on product advancements. The town values your visits. However, we recommend that you mail in any information, brochures, etc., to the attention of the Purchasing Agent at:
127 Center St. South
Vienna, VA 22180 

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Posting Bid Notices
The Purchasing Department seeks maximum competition. In achieving this goal, the town publicizes outstanding bids and RFPs as follows:
  • Posted online using the Find RFP e-purchasing online system. This system brings together an extensive database of government agencies and vendors and enables us to improve our service to you by providing instant access to bid information via the web 24 hours a day.
  • Posted on the Bulletin Board in the Town Hall Building, located at 127 Center Street South
  • Via direct solicitation 
  • Advertised in newspapers having general circulation, at the discretion of the town

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Bidders List and Bidders List Application
The Purchasing Department maintains a list of prospective bidders categorized by class and type of commodity. If you are interested in being placed on the Town of Vienna bidders list:

You will be mailed a Bidders Application Form that must be completed and returned to Purchasing.

It is the vendor's responsibility to keep its applications current and to notify the Purchasing Department when changes occur regarding the products or services offered, address, ownership or status as a bidder.

Placement on the bidders list does not guarantee receipt of a request for quotation, invitation to bid or request for proposal. It is the vendor's responsibility to check the bid notices posted by the Purchasing Department.

Bidders may be removed from the bidders list if they do not respond to solicitations. However, bidders may be retained on the bidders list by simply responding with a no bid if they are interested in bidding on the items in the future.

The town reserves the right to validate and update the bidders list from time to time, which may require the bidder to renew the bidders application which is on file.

The Purchasing Department is a member of the Virginia Regional Minority Supplier Council (VRMSDC) to assure communication with minority vendors in the State of Virginia. While VRMSDC sends bid notices to minority vendors, it is recommended minority vendors individually register with the Purchasing Department.

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Debarment
The purchasing agent has the authority to remove a vendor from the bidders list when the public interest will be best served by such removal. The bases for removal include, but are not limited to:
  • The vendor defaulting on its quotations or contracts.
  • Behavior on the part of the vendor which is deemed by the purchasing agent to be unethical, harmful to the town or in any other way not in the best interest of the town. The purchasing agent shall outline in writing the reasons for such removal and send a copy via certified or registered mail to the vendor, at least 10calendar days prior to the date set for receipt of bids.

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Types of Solicitations
The town solicits goods and services through informal bids (written Requests for Quotations or verbal quotes) and formal bids (Invitations for Bid or Requests for Proposals).

Informal Bids
Informal bids are solicited for goods or services under $10,000. They are solicited by a written Request for Quotation or by verbal quotation. These solicitations are not publicly advertised. All informal bids are evaluated by the purchasing agent or designee. The contract will be awarded to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

Formal Bids
Formal bids are solicited for goods or services estimated to exceed $10,000. They are solicited through the issuance of an Invitation to Bid. Formal bids may be used for goods and services less than $10,000 when in the best interest of the town.
Invitations for Bid (IFB) will be posted on the bulletin board in the entrance of Town Hall, located at 127 Center Street South, and are also be published in a newspaper of general circulation at least 10 calendar days prior to the date of the bid opening.

Vendors' bids must be mailed or delivered to the Purchasing Department. Bids must be received and time stamped in the Purchasing Department before the closing date and time stated on the solicitation. Bids received after the designated closing date and time will not be considered and will be returned to the bidder unopened. Envelopes or packages containing bids must be sealed and clearly state on the outside the company name, bid number and closing date.

Formal bids are opened and read publicly (if so stated in the IFB) on the closing date, time and place stated on the bid document. The purchasing agent, or designee, shall read prices, delivery and payment terms relating to the bid. No decision to award or to reject will be made during the bid opening.

Formal bids are evaluated by the purchasing agent or designee and the corresponding department director. The contract award will be made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. Awards of $10,000 and above must be reviewed, approved, and awarded by the Town Council.

The purchasing agent reserves the right to accept or to reject any or all bids and to waive any informalities in the bid process. The purchasing agent further has the authority to reject a bid if the bidder has previously failed to complete contracts of a similar nature.

Competitive Negotiations
Competitive Negotiations are used for the procurement of professional and other than professional services. They are solicited by a Request for Proposal (RFP). They will be posted on the bulletin board in the Town Hall entrance, located at 127 Center Street South, and will also be published in a newspaper of general circulation at least 10 calendar days prior to the date of the bid opening.

Proposals must be mailed or delivered to the Purchasing Department. Proposals must be received and time stamped in the Purchasing Department before the closing date and time stated on the RFP. Proposals received after the designated closing date and time will not be considered and will be returned to the offeror unopened. Envelopes or packages containing proposals must be sealed and clearly state on the outside the company name, RFP number and closing date.

The names of offerors submitting proposals shall be read publicly at the closing date, time and place stated on the RFP document. No other information will be provided at that time.

Timely proposals will be reviewed, evaluated and ranked. Competitive negotiations will be conducted with the firms best suited among those submitting proposals. Contract award will be made to the offeror who, in the town's opinion, submitted the most advantageous proposal.

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Contract Evaluation and Award
Contracts will be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder. A responsible bidder or offeror shall mean an individual, company, firm, corporation, partnership or other organization that has the capability in all respects to perform the contract requirements and the moral and business integrity and reliability which will assure good faith performance, and that has been pre-qualified, if required. A responsive bidder or offeror shall mean an individual, company, firm, corporation, partnership or other organization that has submitted a bid or proposal which conforms in all respect to the invitation to bid or request for proposals.

The purchasing agent reserves the right to award a contract based on the overall low total bid or the split low total bid, whichever is in the best interest of the town.

In the event of an error in the vendor's extended prices, the unit price governs, unless stated otherwise in the solicitation document.

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Notification of Successful Vendor
Successful vendors are notified by receipt of a signed purchase order or by any other contractual agreement indicating bid award.

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Brand Names or Alternates
Unless otherwise stated in the Invitation to Bid or Request for Quotations, the name of a certain brand, make or manufacturer does not restrict bidders to the specific brand, make or manufacturer named. Specification of a brand name conveys the general style, type, character and quality of the article desired. Any article which the town, in its sole discretion, determines to be an equal of that specified, considering quality, workmanship, economy of operation and suitability for the purpose intended, shall be accepted. The decision to approve an alternative shall be made by the Purchasing Department after consultation with the using departments. The burden of proving that an alternate is equal shall rest with the bidder. Written comments from prospective bidders (vendors) concerning specifications or alternatives may be accepted by the purchasing agent for consideration if submitted at least 10 days prior to the date set for receipt of bids.

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Errors in Submitting Bids
If an error is detected prior to the bid closing date or the proposal opening date, the vendor may retrieve the bid or proposal from the Purchasing Department. Valid identification showing proof of employment is required. The error may be corrected by drawing a single line through the mistake, making the correction and initialing it in ink.

The vendor must re-submit the bid or proposal and ensure it is time stamped before the specified closing / opening date and time.

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Bid Tabulations
Generally, a bid tabulation summarizes in matrix format the names of the bidders who submitted bids, the quantity, unit cost and extended cost for each item bid and the total bid price quoted.

When is the Bid Tabulation Prepared?
The bid tabulation is prepared after the bid opening date and time.

How Does a Bidder Obtain a Copy?
Bidders may obtain a bid tabulation by including with their bid a self-addressed, stamped envelope clearly marked with a request for the bid tabulation. Or after the bid award, a bidder may request a copy of the bid tabulation by telephone or email. The bid tabulation will be faxed, emailed or mailed if the bidder submits a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Bid tabulations will not be read to bidders over the telephone. Bid tabulations can also be viewed and downloaded from the List of Recent Awards page after award by Town Council.

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Tax Exempt
Vendors shall not include state, local and federal taxes in any prices quoted to the town. The town's federal tax exemption number is 54-6001654. A tax exemption certificate will be furnished upon request.

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Invoices
In order to receive payment for goods or services furnished to the town, submit an original invoice to the using department at the invoice address shown on the purchase order.

The vendor's original invoice must include, at a minimum, the following:
  • The vendor's invoice number
  • The town purchase order number
  • A complete description of the goods or services furnished, including quantities, unit prices and extensions and the discount terms
  • The name of the using department to whom the shipment was made

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Vendor Payment
The using department will authorize payment, after delivery and acceptance of the goods or services and after receipt of the vendor's original invoice. Finance issues a payment check to the vendor. Vendors should direct questions concerning payment to the invoiced using department.

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Bond Requirements
A bond is a written instrument, issued by a surety, guaranteeing faithful performance by the contractor.

Why Require Bonding?
Bonds reduce the town's financial risk in the event a contractor fails to perform or defaults on a contract. Bonds transfer the risk of contractor default to a third party, which is the surety company that issues the bond.

What Are the Different Types of Bonds?
Five types of bonds are frequently used in contracts to procure goods and services:
  • Bid Bond - A bid bond guarantees that the bidder will enter into a contract if selected as the lowest responsive and responsible bidder. If a bidder does not accept the award, the bid bond is forfeited. Except in cases of emergency, all bids or proposals for construction contracts in excess of $100,000 must be accompanied by a bid bond. The amount of the bid bond shall not exceed 5% of the total contract. Bidders shall submit the bid bond with their bid. If the bid bond is not submitted with the bid, the bidder is nonresponsive.
  • Performance Bond - A performance bond guarantees that a contractor will perform the contract in accordance with the contract terms. The surety who issued the bond may either complete the contract or pay damages up to the bond limit. This bond is used most frequently in construction contracts. The town requires a performance bond in the sum of the contract amount for all public construction contracts exceeding $100,000.
  • Contract Bond - A contract bond, similar to a performance bond, guarantees the contractor will perform pursuant to the terms and conditions of the contract. While performance bonds are used primarily for construction projects, contract bonds are used for service contracts such as microcomputer purchases, grass-cutting services and computer programming services.
  • Payment Bond - A payment bond guarantees the contractor will pay all suppliers and subcontractors who assist in the performance of the work. The town requires a payment bond in the sum of the contract for any construction contract exceeding $100,000.
  • Fidelity Bond - A fidelity bond is similar to an insurance policy and guarantees against losses that may result from proven acts of dishonesty on the part of the contractor's employees. Fidelity bonds are often required in service contracts when the contractor's employees will handle cash or are exposed to opportunities for theft.

When Should a Bond be Required?
As indicated, bonds protect the town against risk. A bond should be required whenever a contractor's default exposes the town to financial liability. The protection offered by the bond is weighed against the potential for the bond requirement to inflate the contract cost or to hinder competition. Oftentimes, individuals or small businesses are unable to obtain a bond. A fundamental objective of public procurement is to maximize competition. Therefore, it is essential to be realistic in setting bonding requirements.

How Much Should the Bond Amount Be?
Except as required by law, the bond amount depends on an assessment of the town's financial risk, the estimated contract value, the importance of the service to be performed and whether service disruption would be detrimental to the town. For example, the town's risk may only be 10% or 15% of the contract amount. To require a bond for 100% of the contract amount may be arbitrary and capricious. Purchasing staff works closely with the town's legal counsel to identify the type and amount of bonds appropriate for each procurement contract.

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Equal Opportunity and Minority Business Participation
It is the town's policy to contribute to the establishment, preservation and strengthening of businesses owned by minorities and to encourage their participation in town procurement activities. Notwithstanding this, policy requires that town contracts be awarded to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder.

Employment Discrimination Prohibited
The town prohibits employment discrimination by contractors hired by the town and requires that every town contract over $10,000 include language to this effect.

Bid Requirements for Construction Contracts
Construction contracts set forth requirements for minority-owned business opportunities. Every bid submitted in response to an Invitation for Bid on a town construction contract in excess of $10,000 shall be required to contain a statement setting forth the good-faith minority-owned business participation efforts which the bidder has taken in the past, and which the bidder intends to undertake in connection with performance of the contract.

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