As we explained in our previous installment of this series, the impact of Covid-19 continues to create an acute strain on all areas of society. The declaration of a state of emergency by the governor and all of the resulting governmental orders demonstrate that this is a time in which emergency contracting regulations can be used. Since time is a limiting factor, it is crucial to employ the State regulations that allow for streamlined emergency procurement.
The State agencies’ procurement of goods and services is governed by Chapter 287 of the Florida Statutes and further codified in Chapter 60A of the Florida Administrative Code, which regulates the Department of Managing Services. While state agencies are required to use state term contracts, federal agencies, local governments, and school boards are considered eligible users.
Upon making a written determination that there is “immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare or other substantial loss to the state requires emergency action,” a State agency head may use modified procurement procedures for commodities or contractual services above $35,000. § 287.057, Fla. Stat. There are two options within this modified process:
(1) If time permits, the agency should obtain, in writing, pricing information from at least two prospective vendors.
(2) If time is restrictively limited, the agency may award a contract without multiple proposals and declare their emergency determination to the department through the “Notice of Emergency Procurement,” Form PUR 7800.
In either case, a copy of the written statement should be given to the Chief Financial Officer with a voucher authorizing payment. Emergency purchases are not required to be posted electronically or by any other means.
As discussed in our blog post regarding Miami-Dade County emergency procurement, the emergency provisions in the Consultant’s Competitive Negotiation Act, could also be utilized by state agencies. § 287.055, Fla. Stat. for architectural, engineering, and other similar professional services.