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New Bidding Process Shortens Project Timelines, Report Says

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By Jorge Casuso

August 10, 2023 -- An expedited bidding process for smaller projects implemented by Public Works is reducing the time it takes to procure a contractor by at least half, according to a report sent to the City Council Thursday.

It now takes an average of eleven weeks from advertising a project to executing a contract, down from the standard 20 to 27 weeks before the process was streamlined.

And that timeline could likely be further reduced, Public Works Director Rick Valte wrote in the Master Services Agreement Annual Report to the Council.

"As staff becomes more comfortable with the process, it is feasible that the average procurement duration can reach the initial goal of a six-week process," Valte said.

Between May 2022 and June 2023, eleven task orders totaling roughly $3.3 million were executed, one of them an emergency solicitation, Valte reported.

The eleven tasks -- which totaled $3.33 million -- included everything from "fire administration security improvements" that cost $34,800 to the $561,000 spent to paint the airport administration building.

Other tasks included a $460,000 contract to install bird netting at the Pier and a contract for $351,737 to resurface the Marine Park parking lot.

Under the alternate approach approved by the Council in 2018, Public Works issues a request for qualifications and chooses the top eight bidders to include on a list of prequalified contractors approved by the City Council.

"As projects arise, staff solicits bids from at least three MSA (Master Services Agreements) contractors" on the list, Valte said.

Once the best bidder has been identified, the Director of Public Works approves the task order, which cannot exceed $1 million, or $5 million multiple task orders under each MSA.

"The process ensures competitive pricing by qualified contractors, while at the same time substantially reducing procurement time due to having already established agreements," Valte said.

The process is intended to speed up the start of "small, relatively simple Public Works projects," make the process more efficient and
complete the projects more quickly.

"To date, staff has managed to leverage the inherent speed of MSAs to address emergency repairs which require quick mobilization, as well as obtain grant funding for projects which are time sensitive," Valte said.

The current agreements will soon reach the end of their five-year term, and staff will return to the Council to recommend a new group of MSA contractors in the coming months, Valte said.

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