council considers draft purchasing ordinance

The city council liked a proposed purchasing ordinance setting up procedures for all city departments to follow in bidding and contracting supplies and services. "I think this is very pro-active and going in the right direction," said Mayor Robert Danderson. Interim City Manager Patrick MacQueen presented the draft ordinance to the council at Monday's work session. He said the city's current purchasing ordinance calls for a centralized purchasing system with a full-time purchasing agent. The 8-page ordinance even specifies what forms will be used. The only problem is the system was never established and there is no purchasing agent. MacQueen said purchasing is presently decentralized with department heads doing most of the purchasing for their respective departments. Given all the issues facing the city, MacQueen said he does not see establishing a centralized system that meets the current ordinance as a priority. Instead he proposed the city adopt a new ordinance that sets up basic principals and standards. Under the proposed ordinance, any purchase over $5,000 shall require three or more informal written or phone quotations. Purchases over $15,000 will require a sealed bid process with the bid awarded to the lowest responsible bidder. Professional service contracts, such as engineering, construction management, auditing, and other services, would be put out for proposals. Council approval would be required for the awarding of any contract. Any surplus city property would be put out for public auction of competitive bids. Any bid under $5,000 could be awarded by the city manager. Over $5,000 would require the approval of the council. The ordinance allows for the city manager to act without council approval in emergency situations. The ordinance also includes a stipulation from the old ordinance stating that no city department shall retain special counsel without the approval of the council. The proposed ordinance will now be scheduled for a public hearing and consideration at the next council meeting.