The goal of Go Pro is to stimulate thought and discussion on significant issues in the profession, to foster collaboration and community, and to encourage creative solutions to common challenges. In that spirit, Go Pro from time to time presents a hypothetical scenario describing a challenge that procurement professionals might face in the course of their careers.
Last month’s question centered around an award made to a firm that later is alleged not to be properly licensed to do business in the state. The firm is located 90 miles away in a neighboring state, but had demonstrated in its proposal that it is properly licensed in the state in question. Even after confirming the properly licensed status with the director of the state contractors’ licensing board, a letter from the director three days later says that, based upon further review, the awarded firm is not properly licensed in the state.
The following response to the hypothetical scenario comes from Lysle W. Robinson, FCCN, departmental purchasing analyst, Department of Management Services, Tallahassee, Fla.
Given that the information from the director of the state contractors’ licensing board has provided conflicting information, another call or e-mail should be sent requesting the “further review” information so that you can better understand why the company is not “properly licensed.”
If the reason is something simple (forgot to renew license in a timely manner, for example), invoke the “Minor Irregularities/Right to Reject” part of the solicitation document. An assumption is being made that all procurement jurisdictions have “boilerplate” language that forgives minor missteps. In Florida, PUR 1001, General Instructions to Respondents, is attached as part of all solicitation documents.
The specific language reads: “The Buyer reserves the right to accept or reject any and all bids, or separable portions thereof, and to waive any minor irregularity, technicality or omission if the Buyer determines that doing so will serve the State’s best interests. The Buyer may reject any response not submitted [as] specified by the solicitation documents.”
If, however, the reason is more complicated (on the prohibited vendor list, for example), the option of contracting with the next vendor in line is one possibility, and a second is to reject all bids and rebid the solicitation.
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