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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Commission’s overall purchasing policy?
Commission purchasing is conducted to achieve maximum value from the expenditure of public funds. All procurement transactions are conducted in accordance with Commission procedures and applicable state and federal laws in a manner that encourages and maintains good community, public, vendor and interdepartmental relations; ensures fair and equitable treatment of all persons who deal with the Commission in purchasing matters; promotes economy in Commission purchasing; ensures that the Commission is not an active or passive participant in discrimination against minority, women or disabled-owned businesses; and provides safeguards for the maintenance of a procurement system of quality and integrity.
The Commission has adopted a policy on ethics in purchasing which can be found in Practice 4-10.
What types of Items does the Commission purchase?
The Commission purchases a wide range of goods, professional services, miscellaneous services and construction services. Procurement's range from multi-million dollar building projects to contracts for instructors to teach classes at Commission facilities.
How do I learn about specific Commission procurements?
The Commission advertises Invitations for Bids(IFBs) and Requests for Proposals(RFPs) exceeding $30,000 electronically, via www.mncppc.org, as well as www.emarylandmarketplace.com. Commission staff may also e-mail Invitations for Bids or Requests for Proposals to firms on the Commission’s computerized bidders list.
Prospective bidders should Register as a Vendor to be included in the Commission’s bidders list.
Who does the purchasing for the Commission?
The Commission operates under a decentralized purchasing system in which Field Purchasing Agents have been given signature authority to make purchases not to exceed $10,000. The Central Purchasing Division provides assistance during the purchasing process and reviews documentation to ensure that purchasing procedures are followed.
Who should I market to?
While the Commission uses a system of decentralized purchasing, a potential vendor can contact the Purchasing Division with any inquiries regarding purchasing opportunities. The Purchasing Office is located in the M-NCPPC Executive Office Building at 6611 Kenilworth Avenue, Suite #300 , Riverdale , MD 20737 . Normal office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We recommend that sales representatives schedule appointments with staff to ensure availability on the day you plan to visit.
Submission of a Bidders List Registration Form also places the firm in the database that Commission Purchasing Aides access to send solicitations. Being listed in the database does not ensure that a firm will be contacted for any procurement opportunity.
For low-dollar procurements (under $10,000), individual Commission facilities are free to make their own purchasing decisions. In these cases, it may be useful to market your products and services directly to each Facility Manager/Director.
A complete list of all Commission facilities is available on our website, www.mncppc.org
How do I request clarification on bids?
A bidder can request an interpretation or clarification of any of the information concerning the solicitation. The bidder should submit a request for clarification in writing at least 5 working days prior to the date set for receipt of bids. The potential bidder should direct this request to the contact person identified on the solicitation or the Purchasing Division. The Commission will respond in writing and send this information to all firms holding bid documents. A bidder who fails to request any such clarification waives any claim for additional cost or time spent addressing any ambiguity, error, inconsistency or discrepancy in any information, which is found to have been apparent at the time of receipt of bids.
Pre-proposal conferences, pre-bid conferences and site visits may be held for some procurements. During these conferences, Commission staff advise potential offerors of special or technical requirements of a project and allow potential offerors to ask questions about the work to be performed. Attendance at these conferences is not mandatory, unless otherwise stated. Any information disseminated at such a conference will be made available to all firms holding RFPs or IFBs and any other firms indicating an interest in receiving the information.
Are bid or contract security bonds required?
As required by State of Maryland law, a performance bond and a labor and material payment bond, each in the amount of 100 percent of the contract amount, are required for any construction contract in excess of $100,000. The successful bidder must deliver the executed performance and payment bonds, together with all require certificates of insurance, to the Commission within 10 calendar days after Notice of Intent to award the contract. If the successful bidders fail to deliver these items within that period, the Commission will reject the bid and the bidder will forfeit the bid guaranty.
Bonds are sometimes required for smaller projects at the discretion of the Commission’s Secretary-Treasurer. Bid documents will clearly identify whether bonds are required. The Fair Practice Office has information regarding bonding and financial assistance referrals.
Can I withdraw or modify my bid after submission?
At any time prior to the specified bid opening time and date, bids may be modified or withdrawn in person by a bidder or his or her authorized representative. Bids may not be withdrawn for a period of 90 days after the bid opening unless otherwise specified in the Invitation for Bids.
What happens if my bid is late?
Any bid, proposal and/or modification received after the documented deadline for receipt will not accepted or considered for award.
How are purchasing decisions made?
For purchases made through competitive sealed bidding, the award is recommended to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, after adjustment for any prompt payment discount. “Responsive” means that the bid conforms in all material respects to the requirements contained in the solicitation. These requirements include specifications about the goods or services to be provided, the delivery or performance schedule, and any other material aspects of the solicitation. Compliance with the Commission’s Anti-Discrimination Program is also a material requirement of all solicitations. “Responsible” means the bidder is capable to fully perform the contract requirements and has demonstrated integrity and reliability that assure good faith performance. References from past work may be contacted to determine responsibility. A bid from a debarred or suspended contractor will be rejected as not responsible.
For purchases made by competitive sealed proposal, the award goes to the offeror whose proposal is most advantageous to the Commission. This means that non-price factors, such as qualifications, experience and personnel resources may be considered. An Evaluation Committee in its review of the proposals uses the evaluation criteria and evaluation weights listed in the RFP. In order to evaluate these non-price factors, the Evaluation Committee may choose to hold such discussions with some or all of the offerors. Before selecting a proposer for contract award, the Evaluation Committee may take into consideration the interviews with the proposers. In some cases, the Commission will first review statements of qualifications from professional services firms to develop a “short list” of firms that will be asked to submit proposals.
Will I be notified about the bid award if I am not selected for award?
Unsuccessful bidders may seek information regarding the award by contacting the contact person identified in the solicitation or the Purchasing Division. Bids and proposals from formal sealed bid and seal proposal processes are retained at Commission offices for a reasonable period of time after the award and are available for review.
Do I have a right to protest an award of a purchase?
Any actual or prospective bidder who is aggrieved in connection with the solicitation of bids or award of a purchase may protest to the Commission’s Purchasing Manager ( 6611 Kenilworth Avenue, Suite 300 , Riverdale , MD 20737 ). A protest must be submitted in writing within 10 calendar days after the aggrieved person knew or should have known of the facts giving rise to the protest. Further instructions on bid protests should be requested from the contact person identified in the solicitation or the Purchasing Manager.
How do I get paid?
A contract or purchase order must be approved before the purchase is made.
Goods and services procured by the Commission undergo inspection prior to acceptance. The responsible Commission staff person inspects the goods or services to ensure the goods are delivered or services are performed as specified in the purchase order or contract. If the goods or services fail to comply with the terms and conditions, the goods delivered or services rendered are rejected and the vendor is so notified. If practicable, the vendor will be allowed time to correct the deficiencies and all for re-inspection.
After the vendor has satisfactorily delivered the goods or services specified, a staff person approves the payment and notifies the Disbursement Section. Only then can the Commission issue payment. Vendors should send their invoices directly to the address shown on the purchase orders (Finance Department, Disbursements Section) and include the purchase order number on all invoices, shipping documents and correspondence.
Contractors should send invoices to Contract/Construction Managers. Vendors and contractors should issue invoices concurrently with or after the shipment of goods or delivery of services. Contractor and vendors should include an Invoice Number, date, and also your Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) on all invoices. If any of the required information is missing (e.g., invoice, PO number, or FEIN), the payment will be delayed.
How do I get paid if I am a subcontractor?
Prime contractors on Commission projects must submit subcontractor payment verification forms to the Contract/Construction Manager. A subcontractor on a Commission project who experiences problems with a payment should use the form included with the solicitation to contact the Purchasing Division. The Contract/Construction Manager will then investigate the situation. Falsely reporting subcontractor payments is grounds for debarment of prime contractors. (The Commission does not pay subcontractors).
Can firms be debarred or suspended from Commission purchases?
Yes. Causes for debarment include certain convictions for offenses related to business actions, serious violations of contract provisions, violation of the Commission’s ethical standards for procurement, violation of the Commission’s Anti-Discrimination Program or debarment by another governmental entity for causes listed above. Debarment may be for a period of up to three years. The Commission has debarment review and appeal procedures in place. The Commission will provide reasonable notice to the firm or individual involved and reasonable opportunity for the firm or individual to be heard.
What should I do if I have more questions?
Questions concerning a specific solicitation should be directed to the contact person identified in that solicitation or to the Purchasing Division. General questions may be directed to the Purchasing Division.