1. “Purchasing agent” means the School Business Administrator/Board Secretary or the Business Manager of the Board of Education duly assigned the authority, responsibility and accountability for the purchasing activity of the Board and having the power to prepare advertisements, to advertise for and receive bids and to award contracts as permitted by this chapter, but if there be no School Business Administrator/Board Secretary or Business Manager, such officer, committees or employees to whom such power has been delegated by the Board.
2. “Extraordinary unspecifiable services” means services which are specialized and qualitative in nature requiring expertise, extensive training and proven reputation in the field of endeavor.
3. “Professional services” means services rendered or performed by a person authorized by law to practice a recognized profession and whose practice is regulated by law and the performance of which services requires knowledge of an advanced type in a field of learning acquired by a prolonged formal course of specialized instruction and study as distinguished from general academic instruction or apprenticeship and training. Professional services may also mean services rendered in the provision or performance of goods or services that are original and creative in character in a recognized field of artistic endeavor.
4. “Aggregate” means the sums expended or to be expended for the provision or performance of any goods or services in connection with the same immediate purpose or task, or the furnishing of similar goods or services, during the same contract year through a contract awarded by a purchasing agent.
5. “Bid threshold” means the dollar amount set in N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-3, above which a Board will advertise for and receive sealed bids in accordance with procedures set forth in N.J.S.A. 1BA:1BA-1 et seq.
6. “Contract year” means the period of twelve consecutive months following the award of a contract.
7. “Competitive contracting” means the method described in sections 45 through 49 of P.L.1999, c.440 (C.18A:18A- 4.1 through C.18A:18A-4.5) of contracting for specialized goods and services in which formal proposals are solicited from vendors; formal proposal s are evaluated by the purchasing agent or counsel or School Business Administrator; and the Board awards a contract to a vendor or vendors from among the formal proposals received.
8. “Goods and services” or “goods or services” means any work, labor, commodities, equipment, materials, or supplies of any tangible or intangible nature, except real property or any interest therein, provided or performed through a contract awarded by a purchasing agent, including goods and property subject to N.J.S.A. 12A:2-101 et seq.
9. “Library and educational goods and services” means textbooks, copyrighted materials, pupil produced publications and services incidental thereto, including but not limited to books, periodicals, newspapers, documents, pamphlets, photographs, reproductions, microfilms, pictorial or graphic works, musical scores, maps, charts, globes, sound recordings, slides, films, filmstrips, video and magnetic tapes, other printed or published matter and audiovisual and other materials of a similar nature, necessary binding or rebinding of library materials, and specialized computer software used as a supplement or in lieu of textbooks or reference material.
10. “Lowest price” means the least possible amount that meets all requirements of the request of a purchasing agent.
11. “Lowest responsible bidder or vendor” means the bidder or vendor: (1) whose response to a request for bids offers the lowest price and is responsive; and (2) who is responsible.
12. “Official newspaper” means any newspaper designated by the Board pursuant to R.S.35:1-1 et seq.
13. “Purchase order” means a document issued by the purchasing agent authorizing a purchase transaction with a vendor to provide or perform goods or services to the Board, which, when fulfilled in accordance with the terms and conditions of a request of a purchasing agent and other provisions and procedures that may be established by the Board, will result in payment by the Board.
14. “Quotation” means the response to a formal or informal request made by a purchasing agent to a vendor for provision or performance of goods or services, when the aggregate cost is less than the bid threshold. Quotations may be in writing, or taken verbally if a record is kept by the purchasing agent.
15. “Responsible” means able to complete the contract in accordance with its requirements, including but not limited to requirements pertaining to experience, moral integrity, operating capacity, financial capacity, credit, and workforce, equipment, and facilities availability.
16. “Responsive” means conforming in all material respects to the terms and conditions, specifications, legal requirements, and other provisions of the request.
17. “Concession” means the granting of a license or right to act for or on behalf of the Board, or to provide a service requiring the approval or endorsement of the Board, and which may or may not involve a payment or exchange, or provision of services by or to the Board, provided that the term concession will not include vending machines.
18. “Proprietary” means goods or services of a specialized nature, that may be made or marketed by a person or persons having the exclusive right to make or sell them, when the need for such goods or services has been certified in writing by the Board to be necessary for the conduct of its affairs.
19. “Service or services” means the performance of work, or the furnishing of labor, time, or effort, or any combination thereof, not involving or connected to the delivery or ownership of a specified end product or goods or a manufacturing process. Service or services may also include an arrangement in which a vendor compensates the Board for the vendor’s right to operate a concession.
B. Competitive Contracting
Competitive contracting may be used in lieu of public bidding for specialized goods or services that exceed the bid threshold provided the process is administered by a purchasing agent, by legal counsel of the Board, or by the School Business Administrator. The Board shall pass a resolution authorizing the use of competitive contracting each time specialized goods or services are desired to be competitively contracted. If the desired goods or services have previously been contracted for using the competitive contracting process then the original resolution of the Board will suffice. Competitive contracting may only be used for the following purposes:
1. The purchase or licensing of proprietary computer software designed for Board purposes, which may include hardware intended for use with the proprietary software, but not for general purpose computer hardware or software;
2. The hiring of a for-profit entity or a not-for-profit entity incorporated under Title 15A of the New Jersey Statutes for the purpose of the operation, management or administration of recreation or social service facilities or programs; or the operation, management or administration of data processing services;
3. Services performed by an energy services company pursuant to N.J.S.A. 40A:18A-4.1.c.;
4. Telecommunications transmission or switching services that are not part of a tariff or schedule of charges filed with the Board of Public Utilities;
5. The purchase of specialized machinery or equipment of a technical nature, or servicing thereof, which will not reasonably permit the drawing of specifications;
6. Food services provided by food service management companies when not part of programs administered by the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Child Nutrition Programs;
7. Driver education courses provided by licensed driver education schools;
8. At the option of the Board, any good or service that is exempt from bidding pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-5;
9. Laboratory testing services;
11. The operation, management or administration of other services, with the approval of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of Community Affairs.
Any purpose included in 1 through 11 above, will not be considered by a Board as an extraordinary unspecifiable service pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-5. Unless an exception is provided for under N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-42 permitting a longer contract duration, contracts awarded under competitive contracting may be for a term not to exceed five years.
C. Requests for Proposals
1. The purchasing agent will prepare request for proposal documentation, which will include:
a. All requirements deemed appropriate and necessary to allow for full and free competition between vendors;
b. Information necessary for potential vendors to submit a proposal; and
c. A methodology by which the Board will evaluate and rank proposals received from vendors.
2. The methodology for the awarding of. competitive contracts will be based on an evaluation and ranking, which will include technical, management, and cost related criteria, and may include a weighting of criteria. This methodology will be developed in a way that is intended to meet the specific needs of the district and where such criteria will not unfairly or illegally discriminate against or exclude otherwise capable vendors.
a. When an evaluation methodology uses a weighting of criteria, at the option of the Board the weighting to be accorded to each criterion may be disclosed to vendors prior to receipt of the proposals.
b. The methodology for awarding competitive contracts will comply with such rules and regulations as the Director of the Division of Local Government Services in the Department of community Affairs may adopt in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A-4.4(a).
3. At no time during the proposal solicitation process will the purchasing agent convey information, including price, to any potential vendor which could confer an unfair advantage upon that vendor over any other potential vendor. If a purchasing agent desires to change proposal documentation, the purchasing agent will notify only those potential vendors who received the proposal documentation of any and all changes in writing and all existing documentation will be changed appropriately.
4. All proposals and contracts will be subject to the provisions of section 1 of P.L.1977, c.33 (C.52:25- 24.2) requiring submission of a statement of corporate ownership and the provisions of P.L.1975, c.127 (C.10:5-31 et seq.) concerning equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.
D. Soliciting, Evaluating and Awarding Competitive Bid Contracts
1. Notice of the availability of Request for Proposal
a. Request for Proposal documentation will be published in an official newspaper of the Board at least twenty days prior to the date established for the submission of proposals.
b. The purchasing agent will promptly reply to any request by an interested vendor by providing a copy of the request for proposals.
c. The Board may charge a fee for the proposal documentation that will not exceed $50.00 or the cost of reproducing the documentation, whichever is greater.
2. Submission of Request for Proposals
a. Each interested vendor will submit a proposal which will include all the information required by the request for proposals.
b. Failure to meet the requirements of the request for proposals may result in the Board disqualifying the vendor from further consideration.
c. Under no circumstances will the provisions of a proposal be subject to negotiation by the Board.
3. Competitive Contracting- Subcontracting Services
a. If the Board, at the time of solicitation, utilizes its own employees to provide the goods or perform the services, or both considered for competitive contracting, the Board will, at any time prior to, but no later than the time of solicitation for competitive contracting proposals, notify affected employees of the Board’s intention to solicit competitive contracting proposals.
b. Employees or their representatives will be permitted to submit recommendations and proposals affecting wages, hours, and terms and conditions of employment in such a manner as to meet the goals of the competitive contract.
c. If employees are represented by an organization that has negotiated a contract with the Board, only the bargaining unit will be authorized to submit such recommendations or proposals.
d. When requested by such employees, the Board will provide such information regarding budgets and the costs of performing the services by such employees as may be available..
e. Nothing will prevent such employees from making recommendations that may include modifications to existing labor agreements in order to reduce such costs in lieu of award of a competitive contract, and agreements implementing such recommendations may be considered as cause for rejecting all other proposals.
4. Evaluation of Requests for Proposals
a. The purchasing agent will evaluate all proposals only in accordance with the methodology described in the request for proposals. After proposals have been evaluated, the purchasing agent wil.l prepare a report in accordance with N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-4.5d evaluating and recommending the award of a contract or contracts. The report will:
(1) List the names of all potential vendors who submitted a proposal and will summarize the proposals of each vendor;
(2) Rank vendors in order of evaluation;
(3) Recommend the selection of a vendor or vendors, as appropriate, for a contract;
(4) Be clear in the reasons why the vendor or vendors have been selected among others considered; and
(5) Detail the terms, conditions, scope of services, fees, and other matters to be incorporated into a contract.
The report will be made available to the public at least forty-eight hours prior to the awarding of the contract, or when made available to the Board, whichever is sooner. The Board will have the right to reject all proposals for any of the reasons set forth in N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-22.
5. Award of Contract
Award of a contract will be made by resolution of the Board within sixty days of the receipt of the proposals, except that the proposals of any vendors who consent thereto, may, at the request of the Board, be held for consideration for such longer period as may be agreed.
6. Competitive Contracting Report
The report prepared pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-4.5d of this section will become part of the public record and will reflect the final action of the Board. Contracts will be executed pursuant to N.J.S.A. 18A:18A-40.
7. Publication of Contracts Awarded Using Competitive
a. The Secretary of the Board will publish a notice in the official newspaper of the Board summarizing the award of a contract, which will include but not be limited to:
(1) The nature, duration, and amount of the contract;
(2) the name of the vendor; and
(3) A statement that the resolution and contract are on file and available for public inspection in the office of the Secretary of the Board.
Issued: 21 April 2005