RFP 7297 Independent Auditor Services

Agency: Merced County
State: California
Type of Government: State & Local
NAICS Category:
  • 541611 - Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
Posted Date: Apr 16, 2019
Due Date: May 21, 2019
Solicitation No: 7297
Bid Source: Please Login to View Page
Contact information: Please Login to View Page
Bid Documents: Please Login to View Page
Bid Number: 7297
Bid Title: RFP 7297 Independent Auditor Services
Category: Administrative Services - Purchasing
Status: Open

Description:
It is the intent of this Request for Proposal (RFP) to secure the services of a qualified vendor to audit the financial records and statements of the County of Merced under the control of the Board of Supervisors for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.
Publication Date/Time:
4/16/2019 8:00 AM
Closing Date/Time:
5/21/2019 4:00 PM
Pre-bid Meeting:
No
Contact Person:
Kim Nausin, Purchasing Manager
Email: knausin@countyofmerced.com
Phone: 209.385.7513
Download Available:
Yes
Business Hours:
Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm
Related Documents:

Attachment Preview

Test Title

Mark A. Cowart

Chief Information Officer

2222 M Street

Merced, CA 95340

(209) 385-7331

(209) 725-3535 Fax

www.co.merced.ca.us

Equal Opportunity Employer

DEPARTMENT OF

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

PURCHASING

Issue Date: 04.16.19

COUNTY OF MERCED

REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

NUMBER 7297

FOR

INDEPENDENT AUDITOR SERVICES

Notice is hereby given that proposals will be received at the Merced County Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing Division for performing all work necessary in accordance with the “REQUIREMENTS” and other related documents provided herein. Please carefully read and follow the instructions.

Responses shall be presented under sealed cover with the Proposal Number and the Proposal Submittal Close Date clearly marked on the outside and forwarded to:

County of Merced

Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing

2222 M Street, Room 1

Merced, California 95340

Attn: Kim Nausin, Purchasing Manager

Email: kim.nausin@countyofmerced.com

Any Bidder who wishes their response to be considered is responsible for making certain that their response is received in the Merced County Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing Office by the closing date.

RESPONSES RECEIVED AFTER THE DEADLINE WILL BE REJECTED WILL BE RETURNED TO THE BIDDER UNOPENED.

CLOSING DEADLINE DATE: 4:00 P.M., May 21, 2019

RESPONSES WILL BE CONSIDERED LATE WHEN THE OFFICIAL DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES-PURCHASING DIVISION TIME CLOCK READS 4:01 P.M.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Cover Page 1

Table of Contents 2

SECTIONS:

1 – Introduction 3

2 – Timetable and Checklist 5

3 – Requirements 7

4 – Response Format and Content 9

5 – Basis of Award, Selection Process and Evaluation Criteria 15

6 – Terms and Conditions 19

Definitions 31

ATTACHMENTS:

A – Signature Page 34

B – Local Vendor Preference Certification 35

EXHIBITS: (If Applies)

1 - Sample Agreement 36


SECTION 1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 INTENT OF THE REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL

It is the intent of this Request for Proposal (RFP) to secure the services of a qualified vendor to audit the financial records and statements of the County of Merced under the control of the Board of Supervisors for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023.

The primary goal of the audit is to issue an independent audit report on the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report; and on Compliance With Requirements Applicable To Each Major Program and on Internal Control Over Compliance in Accordance With the Uniform Guidance.

1.2 BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Merced County was formed April 19, 1855 under the general laws of the State of California and is governed by a five member elected Board of Supervisors. The County is located in the geographical center of the state, covers an area of 1,984 square miles and has a population of approximately 255,000 people.

For the past twelve years County of Merced has been audited by Brown Armstrong, Accountancy Corporation.

The government-wide, proprietary and pension trust fund financial statements are reported using the economic resources measurement focus and the accrual basis of accounting. Government fund financial statements are reported using the current financial resources measurement focus and the modified accrual basis of accounting.

In accordance with the provisions of the Government Code and other statutory provisions, commonly known as the County Budget Act, The County prepares and adopts a budget each fiscal year. Expenditures, revenues, appropriations, estimated revenues and encumbrances are recorded in the applicable funds.

Capital assets, which include property, plant, equipment and infrastructure are recorded as expenditures in the appropriate governmental fund at the time of purchase or construction and are capitalized in the applicable governmental or business-type activities in the government-wide financial statements. The County capitalizes equipment with a cost of at least $5,000 and an estimated useful life of one or more years; land, buildings and infrastructure with a cost of $10,000 and an estimated useful life of one or more years; and road costs of at least $20,000 per mile. All capital assets used in operations are depreciated or amortized using the straight-line method.

The Investments in the pool are maintained by the Merced County Treasurer. The Retirement Association's investments are maintained in a separate portfolio.

The Retirement Association procures and obtains their own audit services and that financial report is incorporated into our notes and financial statements.

Inventories are stated at cost for governmental funds and are charged to expenditures as they are used. Inventories in proprietary funds are stated at the lower of cost or market and are charges to expense as they are used.

On December 19, 2006, Merced County acquired Castle Airport and Development Center through a benefit transfer.

The County maintains, on an accrual basis, an automated financial management system (ONESolution) on the County’s VM Server Network (VMWare 6.5, MS Server 2012, MS SQL Server 2012). Distribution of data is through a multiple server MicroSoft Windows network with approximately 1,800 personal workstations. The automated system is a fully integrated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which includes modules for a general ledger for all funds and subsidiary ledgers for operating funds, accounts payable, payroll, fixed assets, bank reconciliation, cost, and budget systems. The County has been converting its systems to this solution over the last several years. As of June 30, 2019 it is the County’s target to have completed its conversion of virtually all systems. The last system that will be converted is cost and it will be operational in the new system for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020. The Auditor’s department also maintains a property tax system (the property tax system is a shared system with the Assessor and Tax Collector departments). Other internal computerized County accounting systems include systems for Treasurers Investments, Animal Control billing, Recorder/Clerk, Roads, and Community and Economic Development.

1.3 AGREEMENT TERM

The Agreement term shall be for a period of five (5) years. The start date will tentatively commence July 1, 2019, with a scheduled completion date of June 30, 2024 contingent on appropriate and sufficient funding.

A Sample Agreement is included as an attachment to this proposal. This Agreement will become part of the final Agreement with the successful Bidder. Any exceptions to the terms and conditions as stated herein and in the Sample Agreement must be identified separately within the submitted response. An Agreement with the successful Bidder is executed only upon final approval by the County's Board of Supervisors.


SECTION 2

TIMETABLE AND CHECKLIST

2.1 SUBMITTAL CHECKLIST

All items are required. This checklist is provided to assist you in ensuring you submit a complete response.

a. _____Signature Page (Attachment A)

b. _____Acknowledgement of Amendment(s) (If any)

c. _____Bond(s) (If any)

d. _____Cover Letter

e. _____Table of Contents

f. _____Executive Summary

g. _____Exceptions

h. _____Approach

i. _____Bidder's Qualifications

j. _____Cost Proposal

k. _____Financial Statement or Sufficient Financial Information

(Non-submittal is considered non-responsive and cause for rejection of response.)

l. _____Local Vendor Preference Certification (Attachment B)

2.2
SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES

To the extent achievable, the following schedule shall govern the review, evaluation and award of the proposal. The County reserves the right to modify the dates below in accordance with its review process.

Activity Estimated Schedule Date________

2.2.1

Availability of the Request for Proposal

04/16/2019

2.2.1

Deadline for submission of interpretation and/or written questions in relationship to the Request for Proposal.

Questions submitted after this date will not be answered. The closing date will not be extended for questions submitted after this date.

05/08/2019

2.2.1

Closing date for the Request for Proposal

A list of respondents will be posted to the web at close of RFP

05/21/2019

2.3 NUMBER OF COPIES TO BE SUBMITTED

2.3.1 Please submit one (1) original signature hard copy to be signed in blue ink (original copies marked as such) and three (3) exact copies of the original and one soft copy via thumb drive.

2.3.2 Bidder also to submit ONE (1) paper copy of Financial Statement as set forth herein. See Section 4.2.11 for guidance on what is required.

2.3.3 Disclosure of any Self Insured Retention (SIR) associated with the insurance requirement in the Sample Agreement.


SECTION 3

REQUIREMENTS

3.1 SCOPE

3.1.1 Audit the financial records and statements of the County of Merced under the control of the Board of Supervisors. Funds and activities to be audited include financial statements of the governmental activities, the business-type activities, major fund and the aggregate remaining fund information as required by the Government as required by Government Accounting Standards Board. The table of contents of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018 (Exhibit 2) is provided to list the funds and activities to be audited.

The purpose of the examination of the of the accounts and records is to enable the auditor to express an opinion on the fairness of the presentation of the Annual Financial Report of the County of Merced for the fiscal year June 30, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and its conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

The Bidder shall include an opinion in its report regarding the County's financial statements and supplemental financial information.

The Bidder will provide, by July 1, an "Audit Plan and Schedule" each year of the contract.

The Bidder will also provide by March 1 of each year a "Management Letter" advising the County of Merced of opportunities observed for economies in operations, improvements in internal control and effectiveness of Counties utilization of its resources (15 copies are required).

3.1.2 Review the revenue limit computation required by Article XIIIB of the State of California Constitution (no report required).

3.1.3 Perform the necessary financial and compliance audits required by the Federal Single Audit Act of 1984 pursuant to the Uniform Guidance for the June 30, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 fiscal years ending. Exhibit 3 is the Schedule of Expenditures of Federal Awards for the June 30, 2018, fiscal year ending.

3.1.4 The Bidder will provide the County a consent letter authorizing it to incorporate the County's financial statements with their report in the official statement of any debt issuances.

3.1.5 Audit the county treasury and issue a separate report.

3.1.6 Fiscal and compliance audit County of Merced, Children and Families First, Special Revenue Fund, for each fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. This independent auditor's report is due October 15 of each year. Total expenditures for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2018 was $1,822,871.

3.1.7 Audit the County of Merced, District Attorney, Department of Insurance Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fraud Program, and Department of Insurance Automobile Insurance Fraud Program as of June 30 of each year. The grants are:

A. Workers Compensation Fraud grant for $181,964 for 2017-2018

B. Automobile Insurance Fraud grant for $174,227 for 2017-2018

3.2 ASSISTANCE AVAILABLE TO BIDDER

3.2.1 The financial statements of the various funds, fund types and account groups, statistical schedules and notes will be prepared by county staff.

3.2.2 All interfund and interdepartmental reconciliations are prepared by County Staff.

3.3 SPECIFIC COMPLIANCE

The Bidder awarded the Agreement derived from this proposal will be required to abide by all applicable local, Federal and State laws and regulations, including, but not limited to:

• Government Code Title 3, Division 2, Part 2, Chapter 3, Sections 25250 and 25253


SECTION 4

RESPONSE FORMAT AND CONTENT

4.1 GENERAL INFORMATION

This section describes the required response format and content. The response should contain the requested information organized by the prescribed section and subsection numbers and titles. Any information provided beyond that required in the response should be contained in a section entitled "Optional Exhibits and Attachments”.

Each Bidder shall submit a complete response, along with requested copies, providing all information requested and a complete description of the functional operation of the program/project proposed. Failure to follow the prescribed format may result in rejection of your response.

Responses must be complete in all aspects. A response may be rejected if it is conditional or incomplete, or if it contains any alteration of form or other irregularities of any kind. A response may be rejected if any such defect or irregularity constitutes a material deviation from the proposal requirements. The response must contain all costs required by the proposal.

Responses must be clearly marked as stated herein and must be received by the date and time specified.

The response must be typed. Every part of the response must be legible and of sufficient print clarity to allow copying of the document. Mistakes/Errors may be crossed out and corrections typed or printed adjacent to the mistake/error and initialed in ink by the person signing the response.

Special bindings, colored displays, etc., are not necessary. A single three-ring binder divided into sections by labeled tab index sheets is sufficient. Attachments that are not included in the binder should be clearly labeled according to the sections and titles provided therein. The response should be clear, complete and consistent with the proposal content requirements.

4.2 RESPONSE FORMAT

The response must be developed on the forms provided in this package, or must follow the proposal content requirements in the order in which they appear in the proposal. Responses that do not conform to this format may not be considered for evaluation. Responses must be typewritten and submitted on standard 8 1/2" by 11" paper. Each page must be clearly and consecutively numbered. All responses must be submitted in the name of the legal entity or authorized agency. Responses must be signed in ink by the officer or officers legally authorized to bind the company, partnership or corporation.

The content and sequence of the response will be as follows:

4.2.1 Signature Page (Attachment A)

4.2.2 Signed Amendment(s) (If any)

4.2.3 Bond(s) (If any)

4.2.4 Cover Letter

4.2.5 Table of Contents

4.2.6 Executive Summary

4.2.7 Exceptions

4.2.8 Approach

4.2.9 Bidder's Qualifications

4.2.10 Cost Proposal

4.2.11 Financial Statement (separate sealed envelope)

4.2.12 Local Vendor Preference Certification (Attachment B)

4.2.1 Signature Page

Bidder must complete and return the enclosed Signature Page (Attachment A, “Signature Page”). The Signature Page must be signed in blue ink by the officer or officers legally authorized to bind the company, partnership, or corporation.

4.2.2 Signed Amendment(s)

Bidder must sign, in blue ink, and include a copy of any amendments to the RFP.

4.2.3 Bond(s)

Bidder must enclose any bonds as required in the RFP.

4.2.4 Cover Letter

The Cover Letter must be a maximum of a one (1) page introducing the Bidder. The Cover Letter must include the Bidder’s name and address.

4.2.5 Table of Contents

The Table of Contents must be a comprehensive listing of the contents included in your response. This section must include a clear definition of the material, exhibits and supplemental information identified by sequential page numbers and by section reference numbers.

4.2.6 Executive Summary

The Executive Summary shall condense and highlight the contents of the Bidder’s Business Response to provide the Evaluation Committee with a broad understanding of the Bidder’s approach, qualification, experience and staffing.

4.2.7 Exceptions

This portion of the response will note any exceptions to the requirements and conditions taken by the Bidder. Exceptions should clearly explain why the Bidder is taking exception to the requirements. If exceptions are not noted, the County will assume that the Bidder's response meets those requirements as specified herein and that the Bidder accepts and intends to abide by all stated terms, conditions, and requirements. Exceptions will be considered by the County, and will form a part of any resulting Agreement, only if the County explicitly so states in writing.

Exceptions shall be noted as follows:

• Exceptions to the Scope of Work

• Exceptions to General Provisions

• Exceptions to Special Provisions

• Exceptions to Instructions for Submitting Response and Proposal Content Requirements

• Exceptions to any other part of this RFP

• Exceptions to terms in the Sample Agreement

4.2.8 Approach

The Bidder’s response shall clearly describe in detail how the Bidder will meet the requirements of this proposal and perform the Requirements. Additionally, the response should provide any special or unique qualifications which the Bidder believes it possesses to meet the requirements of this proposal. Only those levels of performance the Bidder actually believes can be accomplished should be stated as measurable objectives. Each of the major tasks, or activities to be undertaken, as a means of reaching such objectives, must be specifically identified. Display the essential points of activity in a time sequence showing the amount of time allotted to each activity.

The merit of each response received in response to this proposal will be judged largely on the basis of each Bidder’s narrative description as described in the Approach of their response. It is important that your response contain all information required for an effective review process. The response should be written in such a manner to provide sufficient detail to enable the Evaluation Committee members to know what is planned at every stage, and to make a judgment as to the probable success of the proposed effort.

(A benchmark chart may be completed to display the time frame for achieving and accomplishing each major program/project task or activity. Flowcharts and other related graphics may accompany this section.)

4.2.9 Bidder's Qualifications

Bidder shall provide a concise statement demonstrating that the Bidder’s company has the qualifications, experience, and capability to perform the requirements of this proposal. The following sections must be included:

a) History

Provide a brief history of your company, including the number of years in business. State whether your organization is an individual proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or private nonprofit organization, and the date your company was formed or incorporated. Provide a statement as to any judgment, litigations, licensing violations, or other violations, outstanding or resolved, against your company in the past five (5) years.

b) Background and Experience

A summary of relevant background information describing your company’s experience of major accomplishments and/or activities similar to the requirements set forth under this proposal, which demonstrates your company's ability to provide the service described in your response.

c) References

Provide a list of at least five (5) customer references. Include the firm’s name; the name, title, and telephone number of a contact person; the dollar amount of the Agreement; and the dates that these services were completed. Bidder may provide sample material of your company's work to substantiate your previous experience.

d) Staff Assignment

A brief description of the experience and qualifications of the proposed key staff members assigned to this program/project and what percentage of their time will be devoted to the program/project. Show their function, level of education, degree and license, if appropriate, and a detailed resume for each person. Additionally, the Bidder must specify where the staff will be located and identify the program/project manager.

4.2.10 Cost Proposal

It is essential that all responding Bidders include and clearly detail all costs, payment schedules, categorization of line items, and/or other related costs associated with your response. All responses must have a narrative providing a thorough and clear explanation of your costs.

4.2.11 Financial Statement

FINANCIAL STATEMENT SUBMITTED WILL BE FORWARDED TO COUNTY AUDITOR-CONTROLLER FOR REVIEW AND DESTROYED OR RETURNED WITHIN SEVEN (7) WORKING DAYS FOLLOWING CLOSE OF RFP. IF YOU WISH TO HAVE YOUR FINANCIAL STATEMENTS RETURNED, A SELF-ADDRESSED, STAMPED ENVELOPE MUST BE ENCLOSED.

Provide copies of the Bidders most current and prior two (2) fiscal years financial statements. Financial statements should include a balance sheet and income statement at minimum. Financials consisting of, but not limited to the Balance Sheet (Statement of Financial Positions), and Income Statement (Statement of Operations), and the Retained Earnings Statement (Changes in Fund Balance) are necessary for construction and service provider Agreements over $10,000. For Agreements under $100,000 (federal funding over $100,000 single audit requirements will apply), if audited statements are available, these should be submitted to meet this requirement. Financial statements will be kept confidential if so stamped on each page.

If financial statements are not available, sufficient financial information should be submitted to demonstrate the ability to finance the Agreement and provide the services in accordance with the requirements of this RFP, understanding that cash advances are not available. Financial information will be kept confidential if so stamped on each page.

THIS INFORMATION IS TO BE PLACED IN A SEPARATE SEALED ENVELOPE AND MARKED "BIDDER'S FINANCIAL STATEMENT” ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE ENVELOPE. FAILURE TO SUBMIT FINANCIAL INFORMATION WILL BE CONSIDERED AS “NONRESPONSIVE”, RESULTING IN REJECTION OF RESPONSE.

4.2.12 Local Vendor Preference Certification

If the Bidder meets the criteria and would like to be considered for Local Preference consideration, Bidder must complete and return the enclosed Local Vender Preference Certification Form (Attachment B). The Local Vendor Preference Certification Form must be signed in blue ink by the officer or officers legally authorized to bind the company, partnership, or corporation.


SECTION 5

BASIS OF AWARD, SELECTION PROCESS AND EVALUATION CRITERIA

5.1 BASIS OF AWARD

Award will be made to the Bidder whose response demonstrates to be the most qualified, responsive and advantageous to the County. The County shall not be obligated to accept the lowest cost response, but will make an award in the best interests of the County after all factors have been evaluated (“most responsive response”).

THE COUNTY RESERVES THE RIGHT, AT ITS SOLE DISCRETION, TO REJECT ANY OR ALL RESPONSES OR ANY PART THEREOF, OR TO WAIVE ANY INFORMALITIES IN THE RESPONSE AND MINOR IRREGULARITIES, TECHNICAL DEFECTS OR CLERICAL ERRORS, TO MAKE AN AWARD ON THE BASIS OF SUITABILITY, QUALITY OF SERVICE(S) TO BE SUPPLIED, THEIR CONFORMITY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS AND FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THEY ARE REQUIRED, AND NOT CONFINED TO COST ALONE. THE COUNTY SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY COSTS INCURRED BY THE BIDDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION OF THIS OR ANY OTHER RESPONSE.

False, incomplete, or nonresponsive statements in connection with the response may be deemed sufficient cause for rejection. The County shall be the sole judge in making such determination. The County reserves the right to cancel or discontinue with the response process and reject any or all responses in the event it determines that there is no longer a requirement for the furnishing of such items, materials, equipment and/or services, funding is no longer available for this proposal, or it is otherwise in the County's best interest to cancel the proposal process.

5.2 SELECTION OF EVALUATION COMMITTEE

An Evaluation Committee consisting of selected personnel will be established to evaluate the responses. It is the intent of the Evaluation Committee to select an apparent successful Bidder with a recommendation to initiate Agreement negotiations. Selection will not be made on cost alone, but will be based upon the most responsive response.

5.3 EVALUATION CRITERIA

The Evaluation Committee will consider only those responses which have been considered responsive to the proposal. Any response which fails to meet the requirements of the proposal will be considered non-responsive and may be rejected. Responsiveness includes attention to detail in following the proposal format. The Evaluation Committee may also contact and evaluate the Bidder’s and the Sub-Contractors references; contact any Bidder to clarify any response; contact any current users of a Bidder’s services; solicit information from any available source concerning any aspect of a response; and seek and review any other information deemed pertinent to the evaluation process. The Evaluation Committee shall not be obligated to accept the lowest priced response, but shall recommend such response that is the most qualified, responsive and cost-effective response and in the best interest of the County (“most responsive response”).

Responses shall be ranked on a score of 1 to 10, with a score of 6 to 10 as exceeds requirements; a score of 5 as meets requirements; and a score between 1 and 4 does not meet requirements.

CRITERIA

POINTS

1

Responsiveness to Requirements

20

2

Business structure and experience

15

3

Personnel / staffing

15

4

Comprehensive cost proposal for Scope of Work

25

5

Exceptions to RFP and/or Sample Agreement

10

6

Size and complexity of prior engagements of a similar nature

15

Total

100

7

Financial Viability

PASS/FAIL

5.4 NOTICE OF INTENT

A "Notice of Intent to Negotiate" with the successful Bidder will be sent to all participating Bidders upon Evaluation Committee recommendation to initiate Agreement negotiation. This “Notice of Intent to Negotiate” will be sent to all participating Bidders by U.S. postal mail and/or email.

A “Notice of Intent to Award” with the successful Bidder will be sent to all participating Bidders upon completion of the Agreement negotiation and the Agreement is on the Board of Supervisors agenda. This “Notice of Intent to Award” will be sent to all participating Bidders by U.S. postal mail and/or email.

5.5 NEWS RELEASES

News releases by the Bidder pertaining to the award resulting from this proposal shall not be made without prior written approval of the County.

5.6 DEBRIEFING

A debriefing shall be held before the award of the Agreement upon the timely request of an unsuccessful Bidder for the purpose of receiving information concerning the evaluation of the Bidder’s response. The request must be in writing, dated, signed either by the Bidder or a legally authorized individual on behalf of the Bidder and be received by the County’s Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing at 2222 “M” Street, Merced, California 95340 within three (3) working days following the County’s transmission, by U.S. postal mail or facsimile, of the “Notice of Intent to Negotiate”. Each requesting Bidder will be allotted a maximum of one hour for any debriefing conference. The information provided by the County will be based on the Evaluation Committee determinations of your company’s submitted response as it relates to the evaluation criteria as stated herein above. The debriefing may be held, in the discretion of the County, by telephone conference call. The debriefing is not the forum to challenge the proposal’s specification, requirements, or the selection criteria. The debriefing procedure provided herein to all requesting and unsuccessful Bidders to the County’s Request for Proposal is the exclusive and sole remedy and means of receiving information regarding the respective Bidder’s evaluation and preliminarily challenging the award of the Agreement.

5.7 PROTEST

Should an unsuccessful Bidder request a debriefing, and believes its response to be the most responsive to the County’s proposal and that the County has incorrectly selected another Bidder for award, the appealing Bidder may submit a protest of the selection as described below:

All protests must be made in writing, dated, signed by the Bidder or an individual authorized to sign Agreements on behalf of the protesting Bidder, and contain a statement of the reason(s) for protest; citing the law(s), rule(s) and regulation(s) or procedure(s) on which the protest is based. The protesting Bidder must have gone through the debriefing process described above, and must provide facts and evidence to support the protest.

Protest(s) to County’s Intent to Award must be sent either by U.S. mail, postage prepaid, or by personal delivery to:

County Executive Officer

County of Merced

2222 M Street

Merced, California 95340

All protests in relationship to the County’s intended award decision must be received by the County Executive Officer no later than seven (7) working days following the County’s transmission, by U.S. postal mail or facsimile, of the “Notice of Intent to Award” to the Bidder.

5.8 PROTEST PROCEDURES

A Bidder protesting the results of any of the processes described herein must follow the procedures set forth herein. By submitting a “Letter of Intent to Protest”, the Bidder has agreed that the protest procedures herein shall precede any action in a judicial or quasi-judicial tribunal regarding this proposal. Protests that do not follow these procedures shall not be considered. The protest procedures constitute the sole administrative remedy available to the Bidder under this procurement. Upon exhaustion of this remedy no additional recourse is available with the County of Merced.

Upon receipt of the formal protest, the County Executive Officer, or his/her designee, will attempt to resolve the protest. If the protest has not been resolved, the Bidder will have an opportunity to address the Board of Supervisors stating their concerns. The decision of the Merced County Board of Supervisors constitutes the final step of the Bidder’s administrative remedy.

A protest shall be disallowed when, in the judgment of the County Executive Officer, or his/her designee, or the County Board of Supervisors, it has been submitted: (1) as a delay tactic; (2) for the purpose of posturing the protester advantageously for future procurement; (3) in a form that deviates from the one prescribed; (4) without adequate factual basis or merit; or (5) in an untimely manner.

In the event that a protesting Bidder does not appear at the protest hearing as scheduled by Merced County, the protest will be disallowed.


SECTION 6

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

6.1 REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL CLOSING DATE

Responses must be received in the Merced County Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing on or before 4:00 p.m. on date specified on each separate proposal. The time specified will be as defined by the official time clock in the office of the Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing, 2222 “M” Street, Room 1, Merced, California 95340. It is the sole responsibility of the submitting Bidder to ensure that its response is received before the submission deadline.

Response must be labeled as:

Merced County Request For Proposal No. 7297

Responses shall be presented under sealed cover and clearly identified on the outside to read:

• Name of the bidder

• Address of the bidder

• Subject of the Response

• Request for Proposal Number

• Proposal Submittal Deadline Date

Without law or policy to the contrary, if the Bidder took reasonable steps to submit the response in due time, and failure of the response to be on hand at the time of closing was not the result of negligence or other fault of the Bidder, but was the result of negligence by the County, the County reserves the right to accept such response.

All responses shall remain firm for at least one hundred twenty (120) days following the proposal closing date. The County reserves the right to withhold an award of the proposal for one hundred twenty (120) days from date of closing.

All responses and accompanying documentation submitted by the Bidders, with the exception of Financials, will become the property of the County and will not be returned. Responses shall be based on the material contained in the proposal. Bidders are instructed to disregard any prospective oral representations it may have received prior to the solicitation of the proposal.

Cost for developing and preparing the response is solely the responsibility of the Bidder whether or not any award results from this solicitation. Further, the cost of developing and preparing responses to the proposal will not be allowed as direct or indirect charges under any resulting Agreement.

No alteration in any of the terms, conditions, delivery, price, quality, quantities, or specifications will be effective without prior written consent of the County.

THE COUNTY RESERVES THE RIGHT, AT ITS SOLE DISCRETION, TO REJECT ANY OR ALL RESPONSES OR ANY PART THEREOF, OR TO WAIVE ANY INFORMALITIES IN THE PROPOSAL AND MINOR IRREGULARITIES, TECHNICAL DEFECTS OR CLERICAL ERRORS, TO MAKE AN AWARD ON THE BASIS OF SUITABILITY, QUALITY OF SERVICE(S) TO BE SUPPLIED, THEIR CONFORMITY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS AND FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THEY ARE REQUIRED, AND NOT CONFINED TO PRICE ALONE. THE COUNTY SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY COSTS INCURRED BY THE BIDDER IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREPARATION AND SUBMISSION OF THIS OR ANY OTHER PROPOSAL.

6.2 ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESPONSES

All responses received by the published date and time for submission will be publicly announced at the Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing at 2222 “M” Street, Merced, California 95340. The name of each Bidder will be publicly read and recorded. All other information contained in the responses shall be confidential to avoid disclosure of contents prejudicial to competing Bidders during the evaluation process. Representatives from organizations submitting responses may be present, but attendance at the announcement of the responses is not mandatory. No award decision, pricing, or exchange of views will be discussed at the response announcement.

6.3 INTERPRETATION, CORRECTIONS AND AMENDMENTS

The Bidder must carefully examine the specifications, terms and conditions provided in the Request for Proposal and become fully informed as to the requirements set forth therein. If anyone planning to submit a response discovers any ambiguity, conflict, discrepancy, omission or error in the proposal, has any questions in relationship to the “REQUIREMENTS”, or any other related matters, Bidder shall immediately notify the contact person as shown on the cover page of this RFP of such concern in writing and request clarification or modification of the document(s) no later than the Question and Answer deadline as set forth under Section 2.2, “SCHEDULED ACTIVITIES". No further requests for clarification or objections to the proposal will be accepted or considered after this date. Any change in the proposal will be made only by written amendment, issued by the Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing to each vendor on the Bidders list as well as posted on the County website, and shall be incorporated in the proposal. The Bidder shall sign and date the amendment and submit same with the response. Any oral communication by the County’s designated contact person or any other County staff member concerning this proposal is not binding on the County and shall in no way modify this proposal or the obligations of the County or any Bidders.

The Bidder may e-mail questions to the Buyer whose name is specified on the RFP, or mail to:

Merced County Department of

Administrative Services-Purchasing

2222 M Street, Room 1

Merced, California 95340

Attention: Request for Proposal Information 7297

All inquiries shall be directed to the designated County staff person shown on the RFP. Contact with any other County personnel or any undue “badgering” of such County personnel by the Bidder is prohibited. Failure to comply with this request may be considered cause for disqualification of your response.

6.4 DISCUSSION WITH RESPONSIBLE BIDDERS AND CLARIFICATIONS TO PROPOSAL

The County may, in its sole discretion, conduct discussions with Bidders who submit responses determined to be responsive and have the potential of being selected for an award, for the purpose of clarification to assure full understanding of, and responsiveness to, the solicitation requirements. Such clarifications may be permitted after submission of responses and prior to award. In conducting discussions, there shall be no disclosure of any information derived from responses submitted by competing Bidders to anyone outside the Evaluation Committee. The purpose of such discussions shall be to examine Bidders:

• Qualifications

• Proposed method of performance

• Proposed personnel and facilities

• Compensation

All Bidders submitting a response for consideration agree that their company will be willing to enter into a final Agreement if awarded this proposal. The County may, in its sole discretion, negotiate certain terms and conditions of such final Agreement after identification of the apparent successful Bidder. However, Bidders should not assume that any terms of this RFP or other applicable terms and conditions are subject to later negotiation, and should instead assume that all such terms and conditions are mandatory conditions of participation in this RFP process. Negotiated changes, if any, will not change the “Requirements”.

6.5 ANNOUNCEMENT OF APPARENT SUCCESSFUL BIDDER

Based upon the qualifying and respective evaluations, the Evaluation Committee will recommend commencement of Agreement finalization. The Board of Supervisors will officially decide to select or reject the negotiated Agreement.

6.6 FALSE OR MISLEADING STATEMENTS

Responses which contain false or misleading statements, or which provide references which do not support an attribute or condition claimed by the Bidder, may be rejected. If, in the opinion of the County, such information was intended to mislead the County in its evaluation of the response, and the attribute, condition or capability is a requirement of this proposal, it will be the basis for rejection of the response.

6.7 RULES FOR WITHDRAWAL OR REVISION OF RESPONSES

A response which is submitted prior to the deadline may be withdrawn or revised any time prior to, but not after, the deadline for receipt of responses provided that the request for withdrawal or revision is in writing and executed by the Bidder’s duly authorized representative. The request for withdrawal or revision of the response must be filed with the County of Merced, Department of Administrative Services-Purchasing, before the deadline for the receipt of responses. The withdrawal of a response shall not prejudice the right of a Bidder to submit a new response, provided the Bidder can submit the new response by the deadline stated herein.

6.8 INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR

It is expressly understood that in the performance of any services resulting from this proposal, Bidder is an Independent Contractor and is not an agent or employee of the County and warrants that all persons assigned to the program/project are employees, or subcontractors, of the Bidder. In the event the awarded Bidder shall employ others to complete or perform the services provided, Bidder shall be solely responsible and hold the County harmless from all matters relating to the payment of such person(s).

It is mutually understood and agreed that no employee-employer relationship will be created between County and Bidder or County and Bidder’s employees, and that the awarded Bidder shall hold County harmless and be solely responsible for withholding, reporting and payment of any federal, state or local taxes, contributions or premium imposed or required by workers' compensation, unemployment insurance, social security, income tax or other statutes or codes applying to Bidder, or its sub-Contractor(s) and employees, if any. It is mutually agreed and understood that the Bidder, its Sub-Contractor(s) and employees, if any, shall have no claim under any Agreement that may result from this proposal or otherwise against County for vacation pay, sick leave, retirement or social security benefits, occupational or non-occupational injury, disability or illness, or loss of life or income, by whatever cause.

6.9 EXPLANATION OF USE OF SUB-CONTRACTORS

Any Bidder using a Sub-Contractor(s) must clearly explain the use of the Sub-Contractor(s) and list the name(s) of the Sub-Contractor(s) providing work under this proposal. The selected Bidder will be fully responsible for all work performed under this proposal and will be considered as the Prime Contractor. Any Sub-Contracting, or other legal arrangements made by the Bidder are the sole responsibility of the Bidder. Any Agreement that is entered into between the selected Bidder and the Sub-Contractor(s) shall contain provisions for federal and state access to the books, documents, records, and inspection of work. Bidder awarded any Agreement as a result of this proposal shall obtain County written approval of sub-contractors identified in Bidder submittal prior to execution of Agreement.

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