Procurement Policy and Procedures
Procurement Policy and Procedures

Greenwood County Library System Procurement Policy and Procedures Manual

To provide operating procedures for the purchase of tangible assets such as materials, supplies, equipment, software, and construction. These procedures shall apply to all expenditures of public funds. These purchasing guidelines have been established to ensure compliance with state and local laws regarding the manner in which the Greenwood County Library System procures its supplies, services, and other products for use.

The purpose of this manual is to provide for the fair and equitable treatment of all activities involved in public purchasing by the Greenwood County Library System, to maximize the purchasing value of public funds in procurement, and to provide safeguards for maintaining a procurement system of quality and integrity. This policy shall provide, but will not be limited to, the following:

a. To consolidate, clarify, and modernize procurement by the Library;

b. To provide adequate procurement oversight by the Greenwood County Library System’s Board of Trustees;

c. To require the adoption of competitive procurement practices by the Library System;

d. To promote increased public confidence in the procedures followed in public procurement;

e. To ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all persons who deal with the procurement system;

f. To provide increased economy in procurement activities and to maximize to the fullest extent practicable the purchasing values of public funds;

g. To provide safeguards for the maintenance of a procurement system of quality and integrity with clearly defined rules for ethical behavior on the part of all persons engaged in the public procurement process;
h. To develop an efficient and effective means of delegating roles and responsibilities to Library staff with the oversight of the Library Director;

i. To develop procurement capability responsive to appropriate user needs;

j. The Greenwood County Library Director possesses the responsibility and authority to monitor and enforce the procurement policies of the Library. Violation of these policies can result in suspension or termination of purchasing privileges and/or disciplinary action in accordance with the Library System Disciplinary Action policy.

Greenwood County Library System branch managers and department heads are authorized to spend Library funds only for budgeted items as authorized by the annual budget. All price limits are to be viewed as total price to include all applicable taxes, fees, etc. that are assessed. Department heads may delegate this purchasing authority temporarily to a designee for the purchase of items less than $10,000. The purchase of any item of $10,000 and over must be approved by the department head and may not be delegated.

• All Library employees shall ensure that they make fiscally responsible purchases.

• All Library employees are encouraged to utilize Greenwood County vendors on all purchases where local prices are competitive.

Purchases under $1,000 (Minimal range):

• Purchases under $1,000 do not require the issuance of a requisition or purchase order. These purchases may be billed to the Library under a credit account with the vendor or may be invoiced to the Library.

• No written bids or verbal bids are required for purchases under $1,000. Receipts or invoices are required and must be approved by the department head or designee.

Purchases $1,000 and greater but less than $10,000 (Routine Range):

• Requisitions/purchase orders are required on all purchases of $1,000 and greater. Approval by the department head or designee is required.

• No written formal bidding is required for purchases less than $10,000. Price quotes and documentation are required.

• Documentation of verbal price quotes and supporting documentation are required. Verbal offers/prices/bids should be requested from at least three (3) sources. Local vendors should be contacted when possible. If it is not possible to obtain pricing from three (3) vendors, staff must note such circumstances on the bid sheet. Library staff must record for each source: the vendor contact name, location and phone number, date and price.

• Written prices/bids may be provided to the Library, if desired, via letter, fax, or email for such items but is not required. The Library Director will assist departments in locating vendors when necessary.

• The bid will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder unless a local bidder is within 5% of the lowest bid, in which case the Library Director may award to the local vendor.

• All supporting documentation of quotes must be attached electronically by the department requestor to the purchase requisition.

Purchases $10,000 and greater and less than $50,000 (Informal Range):

• Requisitions/purchase orders are required on all purchases of items in this range, budgeted or non-budgeted. For purchases in this price range approval by the Library Director is required.

• Documentation of written quotes/bids and supporting documentation is required for purchases in this range.

• Solicitation for offers/prices/bids should be requested from at least three (3) sources. Utilization of local vendors is preferred. Prices/bids may be provided to the Library via letter, fax, or email.
• All supporting documentation of prices from at least three (3) vendors must be attached electronically by the department requestor to the purchase requisition. If a department is unable to obtain prices from at least three (3) vendors, a memo signed by the department head as to the reason must be electronically attached by the requestor to the purchase requisition.

• Bid award for purchases in this range: The requesting department will submit all documentation to the Library Director for her approval to award the bid to the lowest responsible bidder or unless a local vendor is within 5% of the lowest bid, in which case the Library Director may award to the local vendor.

Purchases $50,000 or greater (Formal Range):

• Formal Written Requests for Proposals (RFPs) and/or bid specification documents must be prepared. RFPs will be made available electronically to vendors. Every effort will be made to obtain bids from at least three (3) vendors and to include all Greenwood County vendors.

• Advertisement on the Library website is required. All purchases where the cost is in the Formal Range shall be posted on the Library website at least five (5) business days prior to the date established for the opening of bids or proposals; provided, however, that in the case of professional services, this section shall not apply. The website notice shall include a general description of the materials, equipment, or services to be purchased, how bid forms and specification may be obtained and the time and place for the bid opening. Additionally, the Library will utilize the services of the South Carolina Business Opportunity (SCBO) Newsletter, in order to reach the largest possible audience for bidding on items that we have publicized.

• Sealed Bidding will be required. Bids/proposals shall be delivered/submitted to the Library Director securely sealed in a package, and shall be identified on the package in accordance with bid instructions. Bids/proposals not properly sealed and identified will not be considered and will be returned to the bidder. Bids/proposals will be opened in public at the time and place stated in the public notices. The amount of each bid/proposal and other relevant information as may be specified, together with the name of each bidder, shall be tabulated. A tabulation of all bids/proposals received will be available for public inspection. Emailed or faxed bids will not be accepted.

Approval of Greenwood County Library Board of Trustees
The Greenwood County Library Board of Trustees must approve all purchases in the Formal Range except budgeted as denoted below or where an emergency exists (See Emergency Purchases). The Library Board authorizes the Library Director to approve any budgeted purchase.

Prior to issuing purchase order for item in the Formal Range, the Library Director will obtain confirmation of the Library Board approval. The Library Director will attach the Library Board minutes to the purchase order requisition which show approval of the purchase(s), if applicable, will not unreasonably delay the purchase.

Bid Specifications
The Library Director has the authority to reject any or all bids/proposals for any supplies, materials, equipment, or contractual services, to waive technicalities and to make an award in the best interest of the Library within the limits defined by this policy. All contracts for Library improvements, material, equipment, or services will be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder; provided, however, in the case of professional services or consultants, this section shall not apply. In determining “lowest responsible bidder,” the Library Director will consider, in addition to price, the ability, capacity, skill, and financial resources of the bidder to perform the contract or provide the services promptly without delay, the character, integrity, reputation, judgment, experiences, and efficiency of the bidder, the quality of performance, availability, and adaptability of the supplies or service to the use required will also be considered. Furthermore, the ability of the bidder to provide maintenance, parts, and service, the quality and suitability of a product based on past performance, and the ability, capacity, and skill of the vendor to train personnel may be factors in awarding the contract to a bidder.

When the Library does not recommend award to the lowest bidder in Routine, Informal, and Formal ranges, a full and complete statement of the reason for placing the order elsewhere will be prepared by the Library Director and provided to the Library Board.

The Library shall not accept the bid/proposal from a vendor or contractor who is delinquent in the payment of taxes or other monies due Greenwood County.

Corrections or withdrawal of inadvertently erroneous bids/proposals before bid opening, withdrawal of erroneous bids after award, or cancellation of awards or contracts based on such bid mistakes may be permitted by the Library Director where appropriate. Any bidder may, by requesting in writing, withdraw his or her bid/proposal for any reason prior to the scheduled bid opening.

After bid/proposal opening, no changes in prices or other provision of bids prejudicial to the interest of the Library or fair competition shall be permitted.

All supplies solicited shall be afforded complete, unbiased information as to the description or requirements of the goods and services including any special conditions of the expected procurement.

All bidders will be afforded time considered reasonable by the Library to provide verbal or written bids or proposals, with the exception of responses in the formal range.

All responses received will be evaluated for price, quality, acceptability as specified, availability of goods and services, past performance, transportation or any other special cost or factors which may apply, including any special conditions or exceptions which the bidder may have stipulated.

Insurance Requirements for Vendors

• All on – site Contractors (1099 Vendors) who perform work on Greenwood County Library Property and the Ninety Six Branch Library Property are required to carry Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage.

• Proof of insurance (certificates) must be on file before a purchase order can be issued or work begun.

• Any exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the Library Director.

The requirements are as follows:
Workers Comp = Statutory Limits, Employers Liability $100,000 minimum.
General Liability:  $1,000,000 minimum
Auto Liability:  $1,000,000 minimum

If selling products or a building project the general liability must include Products and Completed Operations coverage. For high risk jobs (i.e. asbestos removal) a higher limit may be required. For businesses not required by law to obtain Worker’s Compensation Insurance, the cost of WC coverage on the part of the Library may be factored into the bid/quoted price.

Sole Source Purchases
Sole source purchases are not to be utilized exclusively for the speed of the transaction. They are to be used when only one responsible bidder can provide the goods or services that are being sought.

Emergency Purchases
Ample opportunity for competitive bidding will be given in accordance with the above details of this purchasing policy/procedure. In the event of an emergency the purchasing provisions of this policy may be waived when, in the judgment of the Library Director, such an emergency exits, the purchase or rental of necessary items may be made as follows:

• Upon the Library Director’s declaration of an emergency, the department head should determine vendors having needed items and obtain price quotes if possible. If time and the situation allow, the department head will prepare a requisition; if time and the situation do not permit, the department head may file the required requisition after the crisis is over.

• A full report of the circumstances of an emergency purchase will be filed by the department head and presented to the Library Director after the crisis is over.

Vendor/Manufacturer Rebates
Rebate is defined as a return of all or part of an amount given in payment for a product, whether in the form of money, “free” merchandise, or future benefits based on purchases made. Examples of rebates include but are not limited to cash, credit toward future purchases, free goods (including food and beverages), and coupons.

For the purposes of this policy, rebates associated with Library purchases in the form of money or property are considered items of value that individuals may not personally acquire as a result of their position.

If a Library related purchase qualifies for a rebate, the instructions on the rebate form must be followed, including any legal requirements as follows:

1. Rebate checks should be made payable to the Greenwood County Library. In no instance may the rebate check be made to an individual. Rebate checks or reimbursements will be deposited by the Library’s bookkeeper into the account and the line item account from which the original purchase was made.

2. Rebates in the form of certificates or gift cards will be returned to the Library’s bookkeeper’s office. The amounts will be deposited for future use by the Library.

3. Rebate documentation must be kept with the originating purchase documents showing the disposition of rebates back to the Library.

State Contracts and Cooperative Purchasing (“Piggy Backing”)
The Library has the authority to purchase supplies through other cooperative purchasing plans, such as purchasing from vendors under State contract. The Library may obtain pricing from local vendors prior to the use of State contract vendors.

Recurring Purchases
Requisition/purchase orders are not required for recurring purchases.

Recurring purchases are defined as pre-determined, regularly occurring, predictable, essential and repetitive expenses that arise out of the general course and scope of conducting business. Examples include utilities, copier maintenance, mobile telephone, ongoing service contracts, licensing fees, rental fees, fuel, etc.

Contracts for new recurring services must be approved by the Library Director.

Professional Services
Based upon the fact that professional services are typically dependent upon traits, such as judgment and discretion, nuanced skills that are difficult to monetize, it is often not in the best interest of the Library to utilize a lowest bidder format for these services. Therefore, professional services are exempt from the competitive bidding process whenever the provider is customarily employed on a fee basis rather than through competitive bidding. (Examples: architects, attorneys, accountants, auditors, appraisers, computer consultants, engineers, physicians, etc.) While these services are exempt from the RFP process, they are subject to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The RFQ process will be required any time the projected fees to be paid for the professional service would fall in the Informal Range or higher.

Any professional services falling below the informal range do not require a purchase order.

Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
The RFQ process will be as follows:
1. The Library will solicit RFQs via the Formal Bidding process as outlined above.

2. The review committee: the Library Director and appropriate staff as selected by the Director will choose the most qualified firm based on non-monetary criteria (i.e. experience performing similar projects, reputation, training, resources of the firm that can be dedicated to the project, etc.) and rank each additional firm in order of qualification.
3. Only after the selection of the most qualified has been completed will the review committee begin to discuss price.

4. If a mutually agreeable price can be reached then the most qualified firm will be selected. If a mutually agreeable price cannot be reached then the second most qualified firm will be engaged to negotiate the price of the service. This process will be repeated with the firms until a mutually agreeable price is reached. After the selection process is complete, multiple year contracts are permissible. The continuation with the selected firm has to be balanced against the Library’s desire to have open competition for the services received.

Greenwood County Library employees or appointed officials may not subvert the public purchasing process by directing Library purchases to certain favored vendors, or to tamper with the competitive bidding or purchasing process for any reason including, but not limited to, rebates, kickbacks, family, friendship, or gratuities.

No department will be permitted to break down purchases of supplies, materials, services, vehicles, machinery, equipment, appliances, apparatus, construction, repair and maintenance, or other items for the purpose of avoiding the procedural requirements that would have applied had it been appropriate for the items to be grouped together and purchased at the same time.

No Library employee or board member shall knowingly provide false or misleading information to any vendor or bidder wishing to do business with the Library. The purchasing process, including the sale of surplus property, shall be open to prospective bidders or suppliers, and all parties shall have equal access to pertinent information. Any information or statistics accumulated during the course of a bid process, including the value submitted, number of bids received, or the identity of the parties from whom bids have been received is considered confidential information. This information will not be disclosed until the time of bid opening due to the fact that disclosure of such information could result in a competitive advantage to one or more vendors or bidders and would not be in the best interest of the Library.

No Library employee or board member may use their public position or office to obtain financial gain or anything of substantial value for personal benefit, or to benefit an organization, family member, or other person with which they are personally associated. Violation of this policy will lead to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge per the Library Disciplinary Action policy.

In addition, the Library also requires ethical conduct from those with whom the Library does business. Any effort by a vendor or bidder to influence an employee to violate the statement of ethics, as described above, will be considered grounds to dismiss or reject any current or future bids from that vendor as both individual and corporation.

Procurement Responsibility
Department heads shall ensure that prices are competitive and that local vendors are utilized whenever possible. The Library Director will assist departments in conforming to the purchasing policy.

It will be the responsibility of the department head to ensure compliance with the purchasing policy and procedures on all purchases made by their departments. Failure to do so may result in the denial of the purchase and/or disciplinary action.

Discrimination Prohibited
In the solicitation of bids or contracts, the Greenwood County Library will not discriminate because of race, religion, color, sex, or national origin of the bidder or offeror.

Change Orders
The Library Director will have the authority to approve all change orders and contract modifications provided that the amended cumulative total contract does not exceed the budget approved by the Library Board.

Timing of Purchases
Large purchases that can be broken into multiple purchases throughout the year may follow the bidding requirements for the price range of a single item with the approval of the Library Director.

Unusual Circumstances
The intent of the policy will be that the outlined procedures be followed. This policy also acknowledges that there are unique circumstances that may make a literal interpretation of this policy impractical. Due to the unique circumstances which may arise, that do not clearly fit into one of the categories outlined in this policy, the Library Director will use her discretion in determining the appropriate solicitation requirements that are applicable in these circumstances.

Purchasing Process
Department heads making a purchase in the Routine or Informal Range should obtain quotes and submit them to the Library Director.

The Library Director will be in charge of the sealed bid procedure for purchases in the Formal Range. Department heads will assist in providing any information needed to complete the process.

Approved July 10, 2018