It is the duty of the county purchasing agent to adopt the standards, classify the requirements and prepare, adopt and promulgate written specifications describing such standards for all supplies, materials, equipment, commodities, services, professional services, leases/rentals, contracts and construction projects, as well as disposition of real and/or personal surplus property, for all Sullivan County Departments, including the Department of Education.   In preparation and revision of such standards, the county purchasing agent shall seek the advice, assistance and cooperation of the county departments and agencies concerned, to ascertain precise requirements and essential characteristics of the commodity/ service desired.  Each specification adopted for any commodity/ service shall, insofar as possible, satisfy the requirements of the majority of the county departments and provide adequate information for competitive procurement.


The county purchasing agent is authorized to purchase and contract to purchase materials, supplies, equipment and contractual services on a fiscal year basis, but no commitment shall be made which extends beyond the end of the current fiscal year for which appropriations have been made by the county legislative body, except such commitments as are authorized by resolution of the county legislative body.


No purchase shall be made or purchase order or contract of purchase issued without the consequence of a requisition for the supplies, materials, equipment or contractual services required.  Requisition shall be signed by the head of the department, office or agency of the county requiring such articles or services.  Copies of all such requisitions shall be kept on file in the office of the county purchasing agent.  In the determination of the county’s annual needs of certain commodities and/or services, the county purchasing agent may request the various departments, offices and agencies of the county government to anticipate their needs for the remainder of the fiscal year and to issue their requisitions based upon such estimates.


No purchase shall be made or purchase order or contract of purchase issued for tangible personal property or services from any firm or individual whose business tax or license is delinquent.


If the amount of the expenditure is estimated to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) sealed bids shall be solicited, unless same can be legally declared as an emergency purchase, sole source purchase and/or professional service.  All purchases of and contracts for purchases of supplies, materials, equipment and services, and all contracts for the lease or rental of equipment, and all sales of county-owned property which has become surplus, obsolete of unusable, shall be based wherever possible on competitive bids, unless otherwise exempted.  Contracts for legal services, auditing services by certified public accountants, and similar services by professional persons or groups of high ethical standards shall not be based upon competitive bids but shall be awarded on the basis of recognized competence and integrity. Competitive bidding does not prohibit the county from interviewing eligible persons or groups to determine the capabilities of such persons or groups.


The county purchasing agent may purchase materials, supplies, commodities and equipment from any federal, state or local governmental unit or agency, without conforming to the competitive bidding requirements of this part.  Bids are not required for services for which the rate or price is fixed by a public authority authorized by law to fix such rates or prices. 


The county purchasing agent shall solicit sealed bids by public notice inserted at least once in a newspaper of county-wide circulation, five (5) days prior to the final date for submitting bids.  All such notices shall include a general description of the commodities or contractual services to be purchased or property to be sold, and shall state where bid forms and specifications may be obtained and the time and place of opening bids.  Requisitions for items estimated to cost an amount such as to require public newspaper notice shall not be subdivided in order to circumvent formal bid solicitation requirement and public newspaper notice as herein provided.


All sealed bids received shall be opened publicly at the time and place fixed in the advertisement.  Each bid, with the name and address of the bidder, shall be entered on a record, and each record with the names of the bidders, the amounts of their bids, and the name of the successful bidder indicated thereon, shall, after the award or contract or order, be open to public inspection.  Withdrawal of a bid will only be permitted where there is obvious clerical error or where enforcement of the bid would impose unconscionable hardship due to an error in the bid resulting in a quotation substantially below the other bids received.  The county purchasing agent will record any withdrawal request and if approved, will authorize same by signature.  The county purchasing agent may require a written request from the bidder.  Revisions to a bid after public bid opening are not permitted.  Revisions to a purchase order award are only permitted if the county purchasing agent has authorized an escalation agreement, a delivery timetable revision and/or other such alterations. 


The county purchasing agent can reject any or all bids for good cause.  Action to reject all bids shall be taken for unreasonably high prices, errors in the invitation to bid, cessation of need, unavailability of funds, failure to meet technical specifications and/or other such causes that would be favorable to the county.


All purchases in amounts that do not require bid solicitation may be made by the county purchasing agent in the open market without newspaper notice, but shall whenever possible be based upon at least three (3) competitive bids.


All open market purchase orders or contracts made by the county purchasing agent shall be awarded to the lowest and best bidder, taking into consideration the qualities of the articles to be supplied, their conformity with specifications, their suitability to the requirements of the county and the delivery terms.  In cases of errors in the extension of prices, the unit price will govern.


Each purchase order or contract issued or executed shall be evidenced by authorization from the county purchasing agent and the appropriate budgets director, which shall give all significant details respecting such order or contract.  Each purchase order or contract issued or executed must indicate either the actual cost for the items/ services purchased and/or an estimated annual cost for contract items/ services.  The estimated annual encumbrance can be increased/decreased during the year as necessary.  Changes to a purchase order and/or contract award can only be authorized by the county purchasing agent.  All approved changes are reflected in a revision to the original document and specifically state the reason for change, who requested the change and any price or language adjustments corresponding to same.


Purchase orders are distributed as follows:  Original purchase order and/or revision shall be furnished the vendor, one copy shall be furnished to the appropriate accounting department, one (1) copy shall be retained in the office of the county purchasing agent and one (1) copy shall be submitted to the user department.


Any inferior and/or damaged supplies, materials or equipment must be reported immediately to the county purchasing agent.  The user department is not authorized to trade, ship or return inferior or damaged supplies, materials or equipment without prior authorization from the county purchasing agent. 


All purchases/services under the requirements of this part and all documents, pertaining to the award shall be preserved for a period of ten (10) years.


All sales of county owned property, real or personal in nature which has become surplus, obsolete or unusable shall be disposed of by the county purchasing agent as defined in TCA 12-2-403.