Q. Does 49 CFR part 18 apply to contracts for professional services if no federal funds are used to fund the contract? In contracts for professional services, which include the services of a lawyer, the State of Ohio does not require competitive procurements.
A. Federal requirements such as 49 CFR part 18 and FTA Circular 4220.1F do not apply to procurements that are funded entirely with local funds. The requirements of FTA Circular 4220.1F apply to the procurement of legal and associated services, such as paralegals, investigators, expert witnesses, etc. if Federal funds are being used to fund these contracts (i.e., if receiving operating funds or if the legal services are funded by a capital grant). Therefore, you should be careful to determine that your agency is not receiving operating funds from FTA, as that would affect the issue of applicability of Federal requirements. (Revised: August 12, 2009)
Q. The Ozark Transportation Organization has the need to obtain legal services. Would use of a Request for Proposal be the appropriate procurement method to be used for these services? It was suggested that perhaps a more informal process could be used, such as putting an ad in various legal periodicals for the services needed?
A. If you are buying services whose value falls below the simplified acquisition threshold, which is currently $100,000 for Federal purchases and for grantee third-party contracts, you may use (if you wish to do so) a simplified approach. One example would be soliciting proposals from an "adequate" number of sources to ensure competition rather than publicizing the procurement for a full and open competition. However, your agency procurement policies may put a lower limit on using purchase order procedures (simplified acquisitions), so be sure to check your local procurement procedures as far as the simplified procedure dollar threshold. In any event you will need to tell the prospective offerors what your requirements are and how you intend to evaluate their proposals or credentials. Keep in mind also that price must also be an evaluation factor if FTA funds are involved. (Revised: August 12, 2009)