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About Procurement

Procurement is the process by which the City purchases goods and services. The goals that guide the City’s efforts are:

  • Achieving the best value for the tax payer’s dollar with high quality goods and services as well as timely delivery at fair and reasonable prices.
  • Choosing responsible business partners i.e., vendors whose records of integrity, financial capacity, and successful performance justify the use of tax dollars.
  • Ensuring that our contracting process delivers fair treatment to all vendors.
  • Encouraging diversity through promoting Minority or Women Owned Businesses (M/WBE).
  • Demonstrating transparency by holding public hearings before contract registration to allow the public time to look at and comment on contracts.

Steps in the Procurement Process

Generally, the City procurement process takes the following steps:

  • An agency need is identified.
  • An agency plans a procurement to fill that need.
  • A solicitation is written and published.
  • A competition is held.
  • A vendor is selected and a determination is made concerning its responsibility.
  • A contract is negotiated and signed.
  • The approval of oversight agencies is obtained.
  • The contract is filed for registration by the Office of the Comptroller.

About Procurement Flowchart2

Identifying a Need and Planning

At each agency, program staff determines how to fulfil their agency’s mission. Once a need is identified and matched to the agency’s mission, a member of the program staff asks the procurement staff to research what best meets the need and how to obtain it. Agencies select the appropriate procurement method based on a number of factors, including: the funds they have available, the type of good or service they want, and the City’s procurement rules.

Writing and Releasing the Solicitation

An agency writes a solicitation document to inform vendors what the agency is looking for and the criteria for considering the vendor for award. The length and detail of the solicitation document depends on the type of procurement being done. An agency typically requires oversight approval of solicitation documents before they are released to ensure fairness and transparency in the competition.


Once the solicitation document is released, it is left for vendors to read and respond within several weeks, depending on the procurement method and agency preference. Vendors respond to solicitations based on the criteria contained in the solicitation document.

Vendor Selection and Vendor Responsibility

City agencies select vendors based on price, quality, experience, and any other factors listed in the solicitation document.

The City must award contracts only to responsible contractors. A responsible contractor has the technical capability and financial capacity to fully perform the requirements of the contract, as well as the business integrity to justify the award of public tax dollars.

Contract Negotiation and Signature

Agencies are allowed and encouraged to negotiate with vendors in order to bring down prices and save the City money. When both the vendor and the City agency agree, both sign the contract.

Oversight Approvals

Offices that approve procurement documents include: the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Law Department (Law), the Division of Labor Services at the Department of Small Business Services (DLS and DSBS), the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Operations (DMO), and the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS). Each oversight office has its own role and responsibility for review and approval. MOCS reviews and approves procurement submissions from pre-solicitation documents to recommendations for award.

Contract Registration

Once all the appropriate oversight approvals are in place, the agency sends the contract registration package to the Office of the Comptroller. The Comptroller’s office then has 30 days to review the contract.

Further Actions

As part of the ongoing contract administration process, evaluations on the performance of selected vendors are required by the Procurement Policy Board (PPB) on an ongoing basis (at least once a year). Performance evaluations reflect the requirements of the contract, including, but not limited to, quality and timeliness of performance of the contract and timely fiscal administration.