Albert Rukwaro
Special to The Gardner News
The Gardner City Council recently revised the city’s purchasing policy to allow departmental heads to approve contracts of up to $50,000 without going through the bidding process.
The changes, approved at a council meeting Sept. 3, added a section to the current policy which only describes the process for obtaining services for $10,000 to $25,000 and the process for services exceeding $50,000.
Mathew Wolf, finance director, told the council that he had received comments from other departments on how to improve the purchasing policy.
“The proposed update to the purchasing policy focuses on improving operational efficiencies and adding more clarity to the policy,” he said.
Under current guidelines, department directors have the authority to approve contracts of amounts of less than $10,000 while the city administrator has the authority to approve expenditures of between $10,000 and $25,000. Amounts exceeding $25,000 have had to be approved by the city council and typically go through the bidding process.
Under the new guidelines, departmental heads will have the authority to purchase services of up to $50,000 without going through a request for qualification or requests for proposals (RFQ/RFP) process.
“For professional services between $25,000 and $50,000 department directors would be required to obtain approval from the city council, but would not require the request for qualification/proposals process,” he said.
Wollf said the directors would be responsible for providing justification for their recommendations and ensuring the vendor is qualified.
He said all contracts above $50,000 would still require an RFQ/RFP and council approval.
The amended policy also adds a section giving the city administrator the option to submit a plan for critical inventory levels to the council for approval.
“This would allow city staff to purchase inventory that costs over $25,000 to replenish consumed inventory to an approved inventory level,” Wolff told the council.
The new guidelines also added language that defines the term “multi-year contract” as a contract where the services are provided over a period of time exceeding 12 continuous months.
The city last revised its purchasing policy in September 2015. The new changes go into effect immediately.