This internal website is for City of San Rafael employees. The public website is www.cityofsanrafael.org.

Public Works Purchasing Guidelines

Accountability to the Public

All City procurement documentation (receipts, invoices, credit card statements) is public record and subject to disclosure under the Public Records Act. As City employees, we are entrusted to spend taxpayer dollars wisely. With every purchase, consider:

  • Is there a good explanation as to why the expenditure is appropriate? Has it been documented?
  • Could the amount spent be comfortably defended under public scrutiny?
    • Would you be free from worry if the expense was selected for audit?
    • If the expense was on the front page of the newspaper, would you feel comfortable explaining it to a taxpayer?

Making our Tax Payer Dollars go far

All goods and services should be competitively procured, and all regular services should be regularly evaluated and periodically re-advertised. This means that construction projects, and material procurement must be sent out to multiple bidders even if only one bid is received.  There are some exceptions to this related to specialty items which are explained below.  Construction and material selection are generally awarded on the lowest bid.

Professional Services should also be competitively bid and requests for proposals should be sent to multiple vendors.  Selection is based on experience, familiarity with the work, personnel, and other criteria specified in the Request for Proposal.

Additionally, we should periodically test our internally provided services to ensure we are providing services in the most cost-efficient manner (vs. contracting that service out).

Know (your funding source) Before You Go (out to bid)

Prior to proceeding with a major procurement for either professional services, a public works project, or services, supplies and materials, you need to confirm that funding is available for the project. The Funding Detail by Project section in the CIP document is a source for funding information for capital and traffic projects and studies. If the contract will be paid out of a division’s General Fund budget, then check your latest monthly budget report as to whether sufficient budget is available.

If you are unsure what the funding source is, you should always check with the Department’s Financial Manager for assistance in identifying the funding sources for a project prior to going out to bid and signing any new major contract. Checking with the Financial Manager once the contract has been awarded and you have the first invoice is too late!

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