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It is the intent of the State of Washington and Central Washington University to promote open competition and transparency in the procurement of goods and services.
Sole source purchases are defined by RCW 39.26.010(23) as a contractor providing goods or services of such a unique nature or sole availability at the location required that the contractor is clearly and justifiably the only practicable source to provide the goods or services.
(2) Sole Source Determination and Justification
(A) If the purchasing office believes that a sole source contract is justified and necessary, the purchasing office must:
1. Validate that the proposed contract meets the sole source definition in RCW 39.26.010 (23).
2. Verify a competitive process is not warranted. See (3) Vendor Notice below.
3. Prepare the sole source contract and collect related supporting documentation necessary to initiate the approval process, including a sole source justification from the department.
(3) Vendor Notice
In addition to collecting the required supporting documentation, the purchasing office must give vendors notice and an opportunity to demonstrate that a sole source contract is not justified. Accordingly, and unless otherwise exempt, state law requires that at a minimum, sole source contract opportunities must be posted on the State of Washington’s online vendor registration system (WEBS). The purchasing office must:
(A) Use/choose applicable WEBS commodity codes for the product or services being procured including those used by the prospective sole source vendor.
(B) Use WEBS to post a notice of intent to award a sole source contract for not less than five working days. The notice must include:
1. A description of the purpose and scope of the contract;
2. The criteria or rationale justifying the sole source contract;
3. The name of the prospective contractor;
4. The projected contract value;
5. The period of performance, including options for extensions;
6. The process for vendor inquiries or responses, including timelines and requirements.
(4) Approval Process
Unless otherwise exempt, pursuant to RCW 39.26.140(2) and RCW 28B.10.029 no sole source contract shall be made binding unless it is first approved by the director of contracts and procurement or the director’s designee. Departments are encouraged to budget ample lead time to accommodate the approval process, vendor notice requirements, and transparency requirements. In determining whether to approve a sole source contract filing, the director will review all information submitted including vendor challenges and the agency response.
(5) Transparency for the Public
RCW 39.26.140(1) requires that prior to the contract start date, sole source contracts must be made available for public inspection for a period of not less than 10 working days. The University must post on its website and on WEBS the sole source contract(s) or notice and instructions on how to obtain a copy of sole source contracts.
The following types of contracts are exempt from this Sole Source Contracts policy:
(A) Qualified master contracts and direct buy procurements;
(B) Qualified contracts with community rehabilitation programs under RCW 39.26.230;
(C) Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maintenance service contracts and parts purchases when procured directly from the OEM;
(D) Software maintenance and support services when procured from the proprietary owner of the software. The procurement of software maintenance and support from third party vendors is not exempt from this policy.
(E) Contracts where the vendor is specifically required by a grant or legislation;
(F) Expert witness contracts with the attorney general’s office or agencies with administrative adjudicative authority;
(G) Contracts entered into pursuant to medical, surgical and dental decisions made by medical professionals;
(H) Contracts related to educational curriculum;
(I) Contracts with Correctional Industries established under RCW 39.26.251;
(J) Contracts related to collaborative research;
(K) Interagency and interlocal agreements;
(L) Contracts for services related to banking supervision;
(M) Postal and postal service when not using consolidated mail;
(N) Utilities such as garbage, heat, sewer, cable television, power, water, fire protection and recycling services;
(O) Contracts and procurements related to professional development such as conferences, seminars, professional licenses and memberships, professional organizations, and professional publications;
(P) Replacement or repair of rental equipment when required by the rental agreement;
(Q) Contracts with instate nonprofit agencies for the blind under RCW 19.06.020;
(R) Contracts awarded from non-state funds;
(S) Mass media services (e.g. newspapers, journals, television, radio, or billboards), only when no comparable competition exists for reaching the target audience with the intended media type;
(T) Used goods, including equipment, vehicles and furniture, only when no comparable competition exists.
[Responsibility: BFA; Authority: BAC; Reviewed/Endorsed by: Cabinet/UPAC; Review/Effective Date: 02/21/2018; Approved by: James L. Gaudino, President]