Baltimore Charter Decoded

Accessible Law for All People

§ VI-11 Procurement.

(a) Board of Estimates responsible.

The Board of Estimates shall be responsible for awarding contracts and supervising all
purchasing by the City as provided in this section and elsewhere in the Charter.

(b) Authority of City Council.

(1)By ordinance passed by two-thirds of the City Council members, the Mayor and City Council
shall set the dollar thresholds for:

(i)contracts that must be formally advertised; and

(ii)contracts that must be approved by the Board of Estimates.

(2)Pending enactment of an Ordinance under this subsection, the Board of Estimates shall set
initial threshold amounts. Those initial amounts shall remain in effect until different amounts
have been set by Ordinance under this subsection.

Editors Note: Initial threshold amounts were set by Board of Estimates Resolution
adopted December 22, 2010, as follows: § 11(c), which requires formal advertisements,
applies to procurements involving expenditures of more than $50,000. § 11(f), which
requires contracts to be approved by the Board of Estimates, applies to contracts
involving expenditures of more than $25,000.

(c) Formal advertisement.

In contracting for any public work, or the purchase of any supplies (unless otherwise provided by
ordinance for foodstuffs and related perishables), materials, equipment, or services other than
professional services, for the City or by any municipal agency, involving an expenditure of
greater than the threshold set under subsection (b) of this section, advertisements for proposals
shall first be published at least twice in two or more newspapers of general circulation published
in Baltimore City, and published electronically to the public, unless otherwise provided by the
Charter. The first publication shall be made not less than 10 nor more than 90 days prior to the
day set for opening the bids.

(d) Professional services.

All professional services contracted for by the City shall be engaged in the manner prescribed by
resolution of the Board of Estimates.

(e) Emergencies, etc.

(i)When any supplies, materials, equipment, services, or public works are of such a nature that
no advantage will result in seeking, or it is not practicable to obtain, competitive bids, or
when the need for supplies, materials, equipment, services, or public works is of an
emergency nature and the using agency certifies this in writing to the Board of Estimates,
with written notice to the Department of Finance, the provisions of subsection (c) of this
section may be dispensed with. However, the purchase may not be made, nor may the City
incur any obligation for it, until approved by the Board of Estimates after considering the
recommendation of the Department of Finance. When practicable, the Citys intent to make
a purchase under this exception shall be posted electronically to the public for comment prior
to the approval of the purchase by the Board of Estimates.

(ii)In the event of an emergency of such a nature that the public welfare would be adversely
affected by awaiting the approval of the Board of Estimates, the Department of Finance, upon
application by the head of the municipal agency involved, may proceed to obtain the supplies,
materials, equipment, services, or public works required without reference to the provisions
of subsection (c) of this section. A full report of any this action shall be promptly submitted
to the Board of Estimates.

(f) Contracts subject to Board of Estimates approval.

All purchases of services other than professional services, of property other than real estate or
interests therein (except as may be otherwise provided by ordinance for foodstuffs and related
perishables), and all other contracts involving an expenditure greater than an amount set under
subsection (b) of this section, except those awarded by the Board of Estimates pursuant to the
provisions of subsection (h) of this section, made by any municipal agency, in addition to
compliance with other applicable provisions of the Charter, shall be submitted to the Board of
Estimates for its approval and shall be binding upon the City only when so approved. The Board
of Estimates may adopt rules and regulations governing the procedures and requirements to be
followed by any municipal agency in making purchases or other contracts involving an
expenditure that does not require formal advertising under subsection (c) of this section.

(g) Prequalification of bidders.

In contracting for any public work or the purchase of any supplies, materials, equipment, or
services for the City or by any municipal agency, the Board of Estimates may establish, maintain,
and modify rules, regulations, and standards for the prequalification of bidders.

(h) Bid awards.

(1) (i)All bids made to the City in response to the formal advertising procedures contained
in this section, for materials, supplies, equipment, services, or public works, or for any
other purpose, unless otherwise provided in the Charter, shall be opened by the Board
of Estimates.

(ii)After opening the bids, the Board of Estimates shall award the contract, as an entirety
to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder or by items to the respective lowest
responsive and responsible bidders, or in the case of Requests for Proposals to the highest
scoring responsive and responsible bidder, or shall reject all bids. However, whenever
alternative bids are invited for two or more different things, then, after all bids have
been opened, the Board may select the particular item that will be procured, and shall
award the contract to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder or in the case of
Requests for Proposals to the highest scoring responsive and responsible bidder for that
particular item.

(iii) In the event of tie bids, the using agency, with written notice to the Department of
Finance, shall make a written recommendation and report to the Board of Estimates
setting forth all pertinent considerations and the reasons for its recommendation. The
Board, after also considering the recommendation of the Department of Finance, may
then award the contract in its discretion, as long as the total cost to the City does not
exceed the amount of the tie bid.

(iv) Once filed, bids are irrevocable.

(v)Any recommendation that is made by any municipal agency to the Board of Estimates
as to the appropriate award to be made by the Board is advisory only and not binding
on the Board.

(vi) Notwithstanding the competitive bid provisions of this Charter, the Board of Estimates
may adopt rules and regulations that establish uniform procedures for providing, on a
neighborhood service, neighborhood public work, or neighborhood public improvement
contract, limited bid preferences to responsive and responsible bidders who are residents
of, or have their principal places of business in, that neighborhood.

(2) (i)All bids for construction contracts let for the Department of Public Works, the
Department of General Services, and the Department of Transportation and any other
contracts for public works shall be accompanied by a check or bid bond. For all other
contracts, the Director of Finance shall implement policies and procedures to determine
whether a bid bond is required for a contract, the term and face value of the bond, and the
manner in which the bond shall be provided and refunded.

(ii)Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph (2), the check shall be a certified check
of the bidder, a bank cashiers check, or a bank treasurers check, drawn on a clearing
house bank. The check shall be in an amount provided by ordinance, by the bid
specifications, or by an order or regulation of the using agency. In the case of bid
checks of $5,000 or less, the check may be of any type drawn on any banking
institution of the United States.

(iii) The bid bond shall be in the form and amount provided by the rules and regulations
of the Board of Estimates, and shall be filed by the bidder with the Department of
Finance.

(3) (i)The successful bidder promptly shall execute a formal contract, to be approved as to
its form, terms, and conditions by the City Solicitor.

(ii) For all construction contracts let for the Department of Public Works, the Department of
General Services, and the Department of Transportation and any other contracts for
public works , the bidder shall execute and deliver to the Mayor a good and sufficient
performance bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or certification that the successful bidder
meets the requirements under the Citys self-insurance program for performance
coverage. For all other contracts, the Director of Finance shall implement policies and
procedures to determine whether a performance bond is required for a contract, the term
and face value of the bond, and the manner in which the bond shall be provided.

(iii) The bond, letter of credit, or certification shall be:

1.in an amount equal to the full contract price; or

2.for each year in a multi-year contract (other than a construction contract), in
an amount equal to the estimated contract price for that year, as determined
by the Director of Finance.

(iv) Any successful bidder who fails to execute promptly and properly the required contract,
performance bond, irrevocable letter of credit, or certification, as applicable, shall forfeit
the amount deposited, or an equivalent amount under the bid bond. This amount shall be
taken and considered as liquidated damages and not as penalty for the bidders failure.

(4)When the successful bidder executes the contract and, if required, the performance bond, the
bid checks shall be returned to all bidders or the equivalent amounts charged against their bid
bond shall be released. If the City has deposited bid checks, the City shall reimburse these
bidders in the amounts of the bid checks.

(5)If a bidder is not required to file a bid bond under the policies and procedures adopted by the
Director of Finance and the bidder fails to execute and perform any contract awarded to that
bidder, the exempted bidder shall forfeit the right to bid on any future City contract for a
period of time determined by the Board of Estimates, and shall be liable for any costs
incurred by the City as a result of the default.
(Res. 07-031, ratified Nov. 6, 2007; Res. 10-024, ratified Nov. 2, 2010.)

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