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Federal Funds

In addition to following the established El Paso Community College Purchasing Policies and Procedures and ensuring a vendor is not showing as debarred on the SAM website, the following requirements when using Federal funds affect the procurement process:

Purchases under $10,000

Micro-purchases, currently listed as those valued below $10,000 (the current micro-purchase threshold), may be made without soliciting competitive quotations if the non-Federal entity (such as EPCC is) considers the price to be reasonable. To the extent practicable, the non-Federal entity must distribute micro-purchases equitably among qualified suppliers. Reference Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 200.67 and 200.320; Texas Education Agency Circular, 8/28/2018.

Purchases $10,000 and over, but under $250,000 require more than one quote

Small purchases, currently those valued at $10,000 and over but under $250,000, may be made using a “relatively simple and informal” procurement method where price or rate quotations must be obtained from an adequate number of qualified sources. The number of sources is not named but there must be two or more. The dollar threshold may also be changed from time to time. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.88 and 200.320; Texas Education Agency Circular, 8/28/2018.

Different definition of Conflict of Interest; Must Avoid Conflict of Interest!

The non-Federal entity must maintain written standards of conduct covering conflicts of interest and governing the performance of its employees engaged in the selection, award and administration of contracts. No employee, officer, or agent must participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported by a Federal award if he or she has a real or apparent conflict of interest. Such a conflict of interest would arise when the employee, officer, or agent, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in or a tangible personal benefit from a firm considered for a contract. The officers, employees, and agents of the non-Federal entity must neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value from contractors or parties to subcontracts. However, non-Federal entities may set standards for situations in which the financial interest is not substantial or the gift is an unsolicited item of nominal value. The standards of conduct must provide for disciplinary actions to be applied for violations of such standards by officers, employees, or agents of the non-Federal entity. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.318(c)

Buy Smart

The non-Federal entity's procedures must avoid acquisition of unnecessary or duplicative items. Consideration should be given to consolidating or breaking out procurements to obtain a more economical purchase. Where appropriate, an analysis will be made of lease versus purchase alternatives, and any other appropriate analysis to determine the most economical approach. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.318(d)

Keep records, keep record of the rationale for the method of procurement

The non-Federal entity must maintain records sufficient to detail the history of procurement. These records will include, but are not necessarily limited to the following: rationale for the method of procurement, selection of contract type, contractor selection or rejection, and the basis for the contract price. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.318(i)

Maximum open and free (and fair) competition

All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition consistent with the standards of this section. In order to ensure objective contractor performance and eliminate unfair competitive advantage, contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, and invitations for bids or requests for proposals must be excluded from competing for such procurements. Some of the situations considered to be restrictive of competition include but are not limited to:(1) Placing unreasonable requirements on firms in order for them to qualify to do business;(2) Requiring unnecessary experience and excessive bonding;(3) Noncompetitive pricing practices between firms or between affiliated companies;(4) Noncompetitive contracts to consultants that are on retainer contracts;(5) Organizational conflicts of interest;(6) Specifying only a “brand name” product instead of allowing “an equal” product to be offered and describing the performance or other relevant requirements of the procurement; and(7) Any arbitrary action in the procurement process. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.319(a)

The non-Federal entity must ensure that all prequalified lists of persons, firms, or products which are used in acquiring goods and services are current and include enough qualified sources to ensure maximum open and free competition. Also, the non-Federal entity must not preclude potential bidders from qualifying during the solicitation period. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.319(d)

Several other laws speak to open, free and fair competition.

With some exceptions, no extra consideration for “local” or state

The non-Federal entity must conduct procurements in a manner that prohibits the use of statutorily or administratively imposed state or local geographical preferences in the evaluation of bids or proposals, except in those cases where applicable Federal statutes expressly mandate or encourage geographic preference. Nothing in this section preempts state licensing laws. When contracting for architectural and engineering (A/E) services, geographic location may be a selection criterion provided its application leaves an appropriate number of qualified firms, given the nature and size of the project, to compete for the contract. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.319(b)

Cost or price analysis needed BEFORE procurement for purchases over $250,000

The non-Federal entity must perform a cost or price analysis in connection with every procurement action in excess of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold including contract modifications. The method and degree of analysis is dependent on the facts surrounding the particular procurement situation, but as a starting point, the non-Federal entity must make independent estimates before receiving bids or proposals. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.323(a)

In some cases, profit must be negotiated separately (most co-ops don’t do this)

The non-Federal entity must negotiate profit as a separate element of the price for each contract in which there is no price competition and in all cases where cost analysis is performed. To establish a fair and reasonable profit, consideration must be given to the complexity of the work to be performed, the risk borne by the contractor, the contractor's investment, the amount of subcontracting, the quality of its record of past performance, and industry profit rates in the surrounding geographical area for similar work. Reference Code of Federal Regulations 200.323(a)


Anti-trust

Vendors will be asked to attest to the following:

  • Neither it nor the person represented by it, nor any person acting for the represented person has:
    1. violated the antitrust laws codified by Chapter 15, Business & Commerce Code of the State of Texas, or the federal antitrust laws; or
    2. directly or indirectly communicated the offer that this purchase order deems to accept to a competitor or other person engaged in the same line of business.