The Office of Procurement staff manages purchasing transactions exceeding $5000 that require competitive solicitation. Buyers on the Procurement staff are minimally certified as Virginia Contracting Officers (VCO), a certification program sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of General Services.
Solicitations may be by: (1) QuickQuote, an informal bid process generally used for procurements with a projected value up to $50,000; (2) Invitation for Bids (IFB), used when the commodity or service can be clearly defined and price is the determining factor in the award; (3) Request for Proposals (RFP), used when the commodity or services cannot be clearly defined and/or when factors other than price have a greater value in the outcome and negotiations are necessary (RFP is not normally used in the procurement of goods); and (4) Best Value Acquisition (BVA), a process similar to the RFP in allowing negotiations and multiple evaluation criteria and is effective in consideration of useful life or ongoing maintenance costs that may not be readily visible in the initial purchase price. The Office of Procurement handles spot purchases, the one-time purchase (usually of goods), and develops terms contracts (usually for services).
Sole Source Procurements and Proprietary Specifications
The Office of Procurement staff manages purchasing transactions exceeding $5000, including non-competitive procurements. Buyers on the Procurement staff are minimally certified as Virginia Contracting Officers (VCO), a certification program sponsored by the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of General Services.
A sole source procurement is authorized when there is only one source practicably available for the goods or services required. Competition is not available in a sole source procurement (see proprietary specification below). Sole source goods or services are provided or manufactured by a specific manufacturer and are only sold directly to the College without distributors. However, a manufacturer may have one designated territorial or authorized distributor set up to sell that manufacturer’s goods or services. When the requesting department believes that only one source exists for a specific item or service, a signed statement to that effect, supported by factual data, must be submitted to the Office of Procurement. Sole source justification based solely on a single vendor’s capability to deliver in the least amount of time is not considered a valid basis for determining a sole source procurement. The Director of the Office of Procurement has approval authority for sole source procurements up to $10,000. Sole source procurements greater than $10,000 are reviewed by the Director of the Office of Procurement and, if recommended for approval, are forwarded to the Vice President of Administration for final approval. All sole source procurements over $10,000 are reported to the Governor’s office.
A proprietary purchase occurs when the product required is restricted to the manufacturer(s) stipulated but is sold through several distributors by competitive bidding. A proprietary specification is normally used only when the product or services must be compatible with existing products or services. Some examples include: prequalification of products is necessary to support specific needs of a program or the use of any other similar piece of equipment would require considerable reorientation and training. A proprietary specification restricts the acceptable products to those of one or more specified manufacturers. Upon solicitation, every effort must be made to obtain full competition among the distributors who carry the manufacturer’s product.