Rosters for Public Works, A&E, and Purchases
Local government agencies that have passed resolutions or ordinances enabling the use of rosters for purchasing and contracting find that they reduce both the time and costs associated with going from project bid to contract. Use of a roster service offers a less restrictive and time-consuming method than the formal, competitive bid process.
Here is a recap of the rosters that are available to local governments by state statute and a brief description on each of their uses.
Small Public Works Roster
What it is: A list of properly licensed, state-registered contractors who can bid for an eligible public works project below $300,000.
Establishing statute: RCW 39.04.155 (Public agencies whose authorizing statutes do not reference this RCW may not use a roster).
Updates: Responsible contractors can be added at any time, as long as they provide a written request. The State or local government agency shall, at least once per year, publish in a newspaper of general circulation, a notice of the existence of the roster and solicit names of contractors for this roster.
Procedures: Public agencies must create procedures that will equitably distribute opportunities among contractors on the appropriate roster.
Awarding notes: A state agency or authorized local government shall maintain a list of contractors contacted and contracts awarded during the previous 24 months under the limited public works process of RCW 39.04.155. For all other contracts awarded under this statute, a list of the contracts awarded must be available at least once every year per RCW 39.04.200.
Architect and Engineers/Consultant Roster
What it is: A list of professional service consultants that includes qualifications and applicable licenses.
Establishing statute: RCW 39.80
Updates: Consultants can be added at any time once they submit their statement of qualifications.
Procedures: Public agencies must create procedures and guidelines to ensure minority, women-owned, and/or veteran-owned firms have maximum opportunity to compete and obtain contracts.
- A&E consultants are chosen based on qualifications only, including professional license (as may be required), statement of qualifications and performance data, and criteria critical to a project.
- The public agency negotiates a scope and fee with the most qualified firm; if no agreement can be negotiated between these parties, the agency negotiates with the next most qualified firm.
- Other types of consultants can be selected by a combination of their qualifications and the proposal process.
Vendor Lists (Purchasing)
What it is: A list of vendors who are interested in selling equipment, materials, and supplies.
Establishing statute: RCW 39.04.190, which allows certain agencies to use informal vendor lists to secure quotes and award contracts within designated thresholds.
Updates: Vendors can be added at any time but the public agency must solicit the names of new vendors to add to the list at least twice per year.
Procedures: Public agencies authorized to use vendor lists must establish procedures for gathering telephone or written quotations from at least three of the vendors on the list, and then, the agency must award the contract to the lowest responsible bidder. The list may only be used within dollar amounts established in each public agency’s statutes.
- The contract must be available for inspection immediately after being awarded to a vendor.
- The agency must publish a list of contracts awarded every two months (at a minimum).
What it is: MRSC Rosters is a service offered to public agencies that includes all the above rosters (small public works, A&E, and purchasing). Public agencies enrolled in MRSC Rosters can be assured of compliance to state law. The 494 current public agency members in MRSC Rosters have identified several benefits to using these valuable tools, including saving time, reducing costs, and having access to a diverse pool of businesses.
Updates: Vendors, consultants, and contractors can be added to the rosters any time they have submitted the necessary documentation to MRSC Rosters.
To Join: Public agencies have two opportunities to register in MRSC Rosters each year
- by December 1 for activation in January
- by May 1 for activation in June
If you have questions about this topic or other local government issues, please use our Ask MRSC form or call us at 206-625-1300 or (800) 933-6772. If you have comments about this blog post or other topics you would like us to write about, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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MRSC is a private nonprofit organization serving local governments in Washington State. Eligible government agencies in Washington State may use our free, one-on-one Ask MRSC service to get answers to legal, policy, or financial questions.