Town of Coventry, RI
Kent County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Coventry 11-12-1991 by Ord. No. 9-91-0181 as Ch. 2, Art. V, of the 1991 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 56-1 Title.

The provisions of this article shall be known as the "Purchasing Ordinance of the Town of Coventry, Rhode Island."

§ 56-2 Purpose.

The purposes of this article are to prescribe the manner in which the Town shall control the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment and certain contractual services of the Town, and to maintain a high ethical standard of all officers and employees of the Town in connection therewith.

§ 56-3 Definitions and word usage.

A. 
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
CONTRACTUAL SERVICES
Includes maintenance service, contracts relating to office and general equipment and leasing of office equipment, vehicles and other equipment and the repair and maintenance of automotive, office and other equipment, and the rental of automotive, office and general equipment. The term "services" shall not include professional services which are unique in their nature and are not subject to competition.
SUPPLIES
Includes all supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services.
USING AGENCY
Any department, division, agency, commission, board, committee, authority or other unit in the Town government using supplies or procuring contractual services as provided for in this article.
B. 
"Shall" is always mandatory and not merely directory.

§ 56-4 Purchasing Division established.

There is hereby established a Purchasing Division in the Department of Finance of the Town.

§ 56-5 Unauthorized purchases.

A. 
It shall be unlawful for any Town officer or employee to order the purchase of materials, supplies, equipment and contractual services or make any contract within the purview of this article other than through the Purchasing Agent, and any purchase, order or contract made contrary to the provisions of this article shall not be approved and the Town shall not be bound thereby.
B. 
There shall be no exceptions by any using agency to the provisions of Subsection A of this section, except as may be specifically authorized by the Town Manager, in writing, stating the reasons for such exceptions.
C. 
This section shall not apply to any emergency purchase which is subsequently approved by the Purchasing Agent or Town Manager upon justification by the using agency.

§ 56-6 Subdividing purchase or contract to avoid requirements of article.

No contract or purchase shall be subdivided to avoid the requirements of this article.

§ 56-7 Requisitions or estimates of requirements of using agencies.

A. 
All using agencies, either by or with the authorization of the head of the department under which the using agency operates, shall file with the Purchasing Agent detailed requisitions or estimates of their requirements in supplies, equipment and contractual services in such manner, at such time and for such future period as the Purchasing Agent shall prescribe.
B. 
A using agency shall not be prevented from filing in the same manner with the Purchasing Agent at any time a requisition or estimate for any supplies and contractual services, the need for which was not foreseen when the detailed estimates were filed.

§ 56-8 Certification as to availability of funds.

Except in cases of emergency, the Purchasing Agent shall not issue any order for delivery on a contract or open market purchase until the Director of Finance shall certify that there is, to the credit of the department, office or agency involved, a sufficient unencumbered appropriation balance to pay for the supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services for which the contract or order is to be issued.

§ 56-9 Disclosure of financial interest.

Section 15.09 of the Charter, pertaining to disclosure of financial interest, is made a part of this article and incorporated in this article by reference.

§ 56-10 Competitive bidding.

A. 
Generally.[1]
(1) 
Except in the case of contracts for professional services, before the Town makes any purchase of or contract for supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services or work to be performed in excess of $5,000, opportunity shall be given for competitive bidding after public notice, under such rules and regulations and with such exceptions as the Council may prescribe. No such transaction which is essentially a unit shall be defined into a series of orders for the purpose of circumventing the requirement of this section for competitive bidding.
(2) 
All such purchases or contracts for more than $5,000 shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder, except that the Purchasing Agent may be directed by the Council to reject any and all bids and then to readvertise for bids.
(3) 
All sales of personal property of the Town which has become obsolete and unusable, and the estimated value of which exceeds $5,000, except trade-in personal property, shall be accomplished by formal contract to the highest responsible bidder after due notice inviting proposals has been published as required by law.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. II).
B. 
Notice inviting bids.
(1) 
Notice inviting bids shall be published at least once in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town, at least five working days preceding the last day set for the receipt of proposals.
(2) 
The newspaper notice required in this subsection shall include a general description of the articles to be purchased or sold, and shall state where bid blanks and specifications may be secured and the time and place for opening bids.
C. 
Solicitation of bids from bidders' list. The Purchasing Agent shall solicit sealed bids from all responsible prospective suppliers who have requested their names to be added to a bidders' list, which the Purchasing Agent shall maintain, by sending them a copy of the newspaper notice provided for in Subsection B of this section, or such other notice as will acquaint them with the proposed purchase or sale. In any case, invitations sent to the vendors on the bidders' list shall be limited to commodities that are similar in character and ordinarily handled by the trade group to which the invitations are sent.
D. 
Bid deposits. When deemed necessary by the Purchasing Agent, bid deposits shall be prescribed in the public notices inviting bids. Unsuccessful bidders shall be entitled to return of surety where the Purchasing Agent has required such. A successful bidder shall forfeit any surety required by the Purchasing Agent upon failure on his part to enter into a contract within 10 days after the award.
E. 
Sealing and identification of bids. Bids shall be submitted sealed to the Purchasing Agent and shall be identified as bids on the outside of the envelope.
F. 
Opening of bids. Bids shall be opened in public at the time and place stated in the public notices, and the opening shall be witnessed.
G. 
Bid tabulation. A tabulation of all bids received shall be made, and shall be available for public inspection.
H. 
Rejection of bids; readvertising.
(1) 
The Town Manager shall have the authority to reject any and all bids of $1,000 or less. If the bid is in excess of $1,000, the Town Council reserves the right to reject any and all bids and then to readvertise for bids.
(2) 
If the lowest and best bid exceeds the budgeted amount and the Town Council does not make additional funds available, the appropriate authority designated in Subsection A of this section shall have the power to readvertise for bidding after making sufficient changes in the project plan to bring this cost within the limit of money available.
I. 
Disqualification of bidders. The Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to declare vendors who default their quotations irresponsible bidders and to disqualify them from receiving any business from the Town for a stated period of time.
J. 
Waiver of irregularities in bids. The Town Council shall have the authority to waive any and all irregularities in formal bids.

§ 56-11 Award of contracts generally.

All contracts, when the sum is $1,000 or less, shall be awarded by the Purchasing Agent to the lowest and best bidder. All contracts, when the sum is in excess of $1,000, shall be awarded by the Town Manager to the lowest and best bidder. In addition to price, there shall be considered the following:
A. 
The ability, capacity and skill of the bidder to perform the contract.
B. 
Whether the bidder can perform the contract within the time specified without delay or interference.
C. 
The character, integrity, reputation, judgment, experience and efficiency of the bidder.
D. 
The quality of performance of previous contracts.
E. 
The previous and existing compliance by the bidder with laws and ordinances relating to the contract.
F. 
The sufficiency of the financial resources and ability of the bidder to perform the contract or provide the service.
G. 
The quality, availability and adaptability of the suppliers or contractual services to the particular use required.
H. 
The ability of the bidder to provide future maintenance and service for the use of the subject of the contract.
I. 
The number and scope of conditions attached to the bid.

§ 56-12 Award of contracts for public construction and improvements.

Awarding of contracts involving public construction and improvements are not under the jurisdiction of the Purchasing Division. All such contracts must be authorized by the Town Council and must adhere to the formal bid and contract procedures contained in this article or as required by the charter.

§ 56-13 Preference for local bidders.

Bids, specifications and other factors being equal, in awarding contracts and making purchases, preference shall be given to the bidder whose place of business is located in the Town.

§ 56-14 Required statement when award given to other than low bidder.

When an award is not given to the lowest bidder, a full and complete statement of the reasons for placing the order elsewhere shall be prepared by the Purchasing Agent and typed on the tabulation sheet, which must be signed by the Purchasing Agent and filed with the other papers relating to the transaction.

§ 56-15 Tie bids.

Award of all tie bids under $1,000 in value shall be made by the Purchasing Agent. All tie bids in excess of $1,000 shall be awarded by the Town Manager, but the Town Council may authorize the Town Manager to reject any and all bids.

§ 56-16 Performance and payment bonds.

A contractor or vendor shall provide a corporate surety bond from a surety company authorized to do business in the state to guarantee the full and faithful performance of his contract obligations and the payment of labor and material expended pursuant to the contract, whenever and in such amounts as is deemed necessary by the Purchasing Agent. All such bonds shall be approved as to form by the Town Solicitor.

§ 56-17 Open market procedures.

A. 
All purchasing of supplies, contractual services, or other services and equipment where the total value is more than $25 and less than $1,000, and all sales of personal property of the Town which becomes obsolete and unusable where the total value is less than $1,000 may be made in the open market, without newspaper advertisement and without observing the formal purchasing or sales procedures prescribed by this article, subject to the following provisions:
(1) 
All open market purchases or sales shall, whenever possible, be based on at least three competitive bids and shall be awarded to the lowest responsible bidder in accordance with the standards set forth in this article, or the highest responsible bidder in case of a sale.
(2) 
The Purchasing Agent may solicit either oral or written bids for open market pricing or sale, but shall use all reasonably available and current bidders' and suppliers' lists. All oral bids in excess of $100 should, whenever possible, be confirmed in writing.
(3) 
The Purchasing Agent shall keep a record of all open market bids submitted in competition thereon, and such record shall be open for public inspection.
B. 
Field purchase orders for certain purchases, with the approval of the Purchasing Agent, may be used by the departments for immediate need of supplies, materials and contractual services not to exceed the maximum value of $25.

§ 56-18 Emergency purchases.

In case of an apparent emergency which requires immediate purchase of supplies, equipment or contractual services, the Town Manager shall be empowered to authorize the Purchasing Agent to secure by open market procedure as set forth in this article, at the lowest obtainable bid, any supplies, equipment or contractual services. The Town Manager has the authority to act under this section in case of any emergency which might affect the health, safety and welfare of the Town. Such action shall be reported in the next regular meeting of the Town Council.

§ 56-19 Standardization, cooperative purchasing and governmental contracts.

A. 
Where standardization is determined to be desirable by the Purchasing Agent, the purchase of materials, supplies and equipment and certain contractual services may be negotiated with the written approval of the Town Manager.
B. 
The Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to join with other units of government in cooperative purchasing ventures where the best interest of the Town is served thereby, and the venture is in accordance with Town and state law.
C. 
The bidding requirements of this article shall not apply to established state contracts or federal General Services Administration contracts. Purchases in any amount may be made in the best interest of the Town and approved as set forth in § 56-14.

§ 56-20 Requisitions under price agreement contract.

The head of the using agency shall have the authority to submit requisitions to the Purchasing Agent for supplies available under the terms of a price agreement contract made by the Purchasing Agent.

§ 56-21 Inspection and testing of deliveries and samples.

A. 
The Purchasing Agent or an authorized Town employee shall inspect or supervise the inspection of or cause to be inspected all deliveries of supplies, equipment or contractual services to determine their conformance with the specifications set forth in the order or contract.
B. 
The Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to authorize using agencies having the staff and facilities for adequate inspection to inspect all deliveries made to such using agencies under rules and regulations which the Purchasing Agent shall prescribe.
C. 
The Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to require chemical and physical tests of samples submitted with bids and samples of deliveries which are necessary to determine their quality and conformance with the specifications. In the performance of such tests, the Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to make use of laboratory facilities of any agency of the Town or of any outside laboratory, as deemed necessary within the restrictions of this article, the Charter and state laws.

§ 56-22 Surplus stock and equipment.

A. 
All using agencies shall submit to the Purchasing Agent, at such times and in such form as he shall prescribe, reports showing stocks of all supplies which are no longer used or which have become obsolete or scrapped.
B. 
The Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to transfer surplus stock to other using agencies.
C. 
The Purchasing Agent shall have the authority to sell all supplies and equipment of a value less than $1,000 that have become unsuitable for public use, or to exchange such supplies and equipment for or trade in such supplies and equipment on new supplies and equipment. Sales under this section shall be made to the highest responsible bidder and be in conformance with competitive conditions. Sales of supplies or equipment of value in excess of $1,000 shall require the approval of the Town Manager. Sales in excess of $5,000 shall require approval of the Town Council.

§ 56-23 Storerooms.

A. 
The Purchasing Agent shall control and supervise storerooms and shall administer the storerooms.
B. 
Requisitions from supplies in a storeroom shall be credited by the Purchasing Agent to the storeroom's revolving fund by a charge against the appropriation of the using agency.
C. 
The Purchasing Agent shall maintain a perpetual inventory record of all materials, supplies or equipment stored in the storeroom.

§ 56-24 Designation; powers and duties.

A. 
There shall be within the Department of Finance a Purchasing Agent, who shall be the Town Manager or someone appointed by him in accord with applicable personnel rules and regulations. The Manager may appoint the Director of Finance as Purchasing Agent. The Purchasing Agent shall perform all duties required by law and such other duties as may be assigned, and shall have the powers and duties prescribed by this article.
B. 
The Purchasing Agent shall perform the duties specified in this article in connection with the purchase of or contract for all supplies, materials, equipment and contractual services as required by any department, office or agency of the Town, including the School Department, when duly authorized in accordance with purchasing procedures as prescribed by this article and such rules and regulations as may be adopted for the internal management and operation of the Purchasing Division and other rules and regulations as shall be prescribed by the Town Manager.

§ 56-25 Authority to establish additional rules and regulations.

A. 
The Purchasing Agent shall establish, and amend, when necessary, all rules and regulations authorized by this article and any others necessary to its operation not in conflict with this article.
B. 
The Purchasing Agent is hereby authorized and directed to adopt such written regulations and procedures as may be necessary for the implementation of this article. Such regulations and procedures shall become effective when approved in writing by the Town Manager. Copies of the regulations shall be on file in the office of the Purchasing Agent and also shall be made available for public inspection during normal business hours.

§ 56-26 Abridgment of purchasing authority.

The authority of the Purchasing Agent to negotiate all purchases for all using agencies shall not be abridged, except as required by the Charter or by state law.

§ 56-27 Duties and responsibilities.

A. 
Procurement at least expense to Town. The Purchasing Agent shall keep informed of current developments in pricing and secure for the Town the highest quality in supplies, fixed charges and other services and contractual services at the least expense to the Town.
B. 
Encouragement of competition. The Purchasing Agent shall discourage uniform bidding and endeavor to obtain as full and open competition as possible on all purchases and sales.
C. 
Purchasing agent to keep informed on current trends and pricing. The Purchasing Agent shall keep informed of current developments in the field of purchasing, prices, market conditions and new products, and secure for the Town benefits conducted in the field of purchasing by other governmental jurisdictions, national technical societies, trade associations having national recognition, and by private businesses and organizations.
D. 
Purchasing manual. The Purchasing Agent shall prescribe and maintain a standard purchasing manual for all using agencies.
E. 
Forms. The Purchasing Agent shall prescribe and maintain such forms as he shall find reasonably necessary to the operation of this article.
F. 
Standard nomenclature. The Purchasing Agent shall prepare and adopt a standard purchasing nomenclature for using agencies and suppliers.
G. 
Vendor's catalog file. The Purchasing Agent shall prepare, adopt and maintain a vendor's catalog file. Such catalog shall be filed according to materials and shall contain descriptions of vendor's commodities, prices and discounts.
H. 
Bulk purchases. The Purchasing Agent shall exploit the possibilities of buying in bulk, so as to take full advantage of discounts.
I. 
Tax exemptions. The Purchasing Agent shall act so as to procure for the Town all tax exemptions to which it is entitled.
J. 
Cooperation with using agencies. The Purchasing Agent shall cooperate with using agencies so as to secure for the Town the maximum efficiency in budgeting and accounting.