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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC WORKS
DATE: SEPTEMBER 16, 2003
SUBJECT: AWARD OF CONTRACTS FOR ON CALL PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
The Public Works Department relies on contract professional services to provide services. Services typically include engineering design, inspection, geotechnical engineering, landscape architecture services, contract management, surveying plan checking, and environmental clearance.
When services are required for a capital project such as the overlay program, or other significant projects, the department circulates a request for proposals (RFP), reviews the proposals, recommends a firm, and prepares a report to the Council to, select the firm, award a contract, and authorize expenditures. This process works well for large-scale projects, and the department will continue to utilize this process for such projects.
The department, however, also requires services for projects in which this RFP process will not work as well. These are generally small-scale projects or projects where services are urgently needed. For such projects the RFP process creates delays, or adds significant administrative cost. Since 1997 the department has obtained services for small or urgent projects through the ‘on-call’ process.
Under the ‘on-call’ process the department selects a firm from an approved list of firms. Under this process the City Council pre-selects the consultants, and awards a contract, however staff has the ability to authorize expenditures within limits established by the City Council.
In preparation for this report, the Public Works Department circulated a request for qualification to 20 selected firms who have successfully provided services to the City in the past. Fourteen firms submitted qualifications, If the staff recommendations are approved a professional service contract will be executed with each of the 14 firms. The amount awarded to each firm over the course of the year will be a function of the needs of the department and the firm’s performance.
As a control measure and in the interest of equity, the contract with each firm will be limited to $ 60,000 for the fiscal year, and each single project awarded to a firm will be for less than $ 25,000. The one exception to this is that ‘on-call’ services that are reimbursed by a trust deposit will not count towards the maximum amounts. The $275,000 dollar amount is based on the amount budgeted throughout the Public Works Budget for non-project consulting services.
If the recommended action is adopted a staff member will obtain ‘on-call’ services by requesting a proposal from one of the ‘on-call’ consulting firms. The proposal will likely be a time and materials estimate for services; however, if the project is well defined a fixed cost proposal will be requested. If the proposal is not competitive a proposal from an alternative firm will be requested. The staff member will then open a purchase order and encumber a portion of the department’s budget. This will all be done without further action by the City Council.
Staff proposes that three-year contracts be awarded. Three years is the length typically awarded by the department for long-term service needs. The three-year period achieves a balance between keeping a firm accountable and not requiring staff to unnecessarily solicit new proposals, which increase administrative costs.
A copy of the standard professional service agreement is attached.
The Council may wish staff to prepare a revised recommendation that establishes certain limits for each firm. Staff recommends against this alternative since it is difficult to estimate the department’s yearly needs at this time and modification of authorized limits during the fiscal year will result in unnecessary administrative costs.
Funding for the recommended actions is available in the adopted FY 2003 – 2004 budget. There are several funding sources including the General Fund, Proposition C, Solid Waste, the Beautification Fund, and the Quimby Fund.
Dean E. Allison
Director of Public Works
Attachments: Standard Contract for Professional Services