To make certain that it conducts its competitive bidding process in a more transparent and fair manner, Irvine should, by December 2016, require city staff to include in every RFP the specified methodology for selecting contractors and not to deviate from it without adequate notice to potential bidders. Further, Irvine should include this requirement in its contracting manual.
Please see the City's 60-day response.
Irvine has included a statement in its Requests for Proposals (RFP) Checklist that it revised on October 13, 2016, which was after it's 60-day response, stating that "When rating the firms, [that submit bids] the various selection criteria weightings stated in the RFP document must not be adjusted."
Irvine has already, and will continue to, implement Recommendation No. 3.
Although the City does not concede that the robust policies and procedures that were in place during the relevant timeframe were inadequate, the City has enhanced its procurement procedures and supporting documents. Specifically, the City implemented the steps noted in Recommendation No. 3 and related item in Recommendation No. 4. For example, in September 2014, the City added detailed instructions regarding RFP selection criteria to the City's RFP checklist. The RFP checklist is referenced in the Purchasing and Contracts Policies & Procedures. These enhancements include providing the recommended weight to be given to preferred selection criteria. To ensure that the City's methodology and criteria are followed, the City is requiring staff members responsible for City purchasing to collaborate with project managers during the preparation of each and every RFP and to provide training, guidance, and oversight during the procurement process. Note: Listed as Recommendation 3(a) in June 28, 2016 letter.
We disagree that Irvine has fully implemented this recommendation. Irvine should update its contracting manual to include a requirement that it will notify bidders if the city desires to deviate from the selection criteria outlined in the RFP. We acknowledge on page 27 of the report that Irvine updated its policies in September 2014. Those updated policies include a requirement that Irvine outline the selection criteria in its RFPs. However, although a checklist Irvine uses has a process for amending RFPs and informing potential bidders, neither the policies nor the checklist indicate whether or when the city may change the selection criteria, especially once proposal review has begun, as we reported happened in the case of the Great Park review.
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.