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Section 2: Contract Standards

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Federal Funds

If the work is federally funded, the federal funding agency must approve the use of a private consultant before the selection. The administering division is responsible for obtaining written approval. 23 CFR §172.9.

If the work is federally funded, the federal funding agency must also concur in writing in a sole source procurement regardless of the amount. 23 CFR §172.5; FAR 6.303 and 6.304.

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Automated Systems

Projects involving Automated (computer) Information Systems must be coordinated through the Information Management Division.

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Notices of Intent

The notices of intent for contracts exceeding $15,000 must be submitted to the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) and the Governor’s Office of Budget and Planning at the time the selection process starts. The Governor’s Office of Budget and Planning will decide in a finding of fact that the services are necessary. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.028.

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Public Notice

Public notice of the Request For Proposal must be published in the Texas Register. The notice must be published not later than the 30th day before the date of contract signature. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.029. If the consultant services contract is $15,000 or less, it is not considered a major consulting services contract. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.021(2). As a result, it is not subject to publication requirements in the Texas Register before or after entering into it. It should at least be published on TxDOT’s webpage.

For contracts exceeding $25,000, public notice of the Request For Proposal must also be posted to the Electronic State Business Daily (ESBD). Tex. Gov’t Code §2155.083.

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Selection

In selecting a private consultant, TxDOT must base its choice on demonstrated competence, knowledge, qualifications, and the reasonableness of the proposed fee for the services. It is the intent of Texas Government Code, Chapter 2254 to ensure:

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  • the greatest and fairest competition in the selection of private consultants, and
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  • that all potential private consultants are afforded notice of the need for and opportunity to provide consulting services.

When other considerations are equal, private consultants whose principal place of business is within the state or who will manage the consulting engagement wholly from one of its offices within the state are to be given preference. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.027

Cost is not to be the sole factor in the selection process, but it must be considered.

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Sole Source

Texas Government Code §2254.022 does not prohibit the letting of a sole-source contract for consulting services if no proposal is received from a competent, knowledgeable, and qualified private consultant at a reasonable fee.

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Contract Services

Contract Services is responsible for managing the procurement process for all private consulting contracts.

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Notice of Award

A notice of award must be filed with the Secretary of State for publication in the Texas Register not later than the 20th day after entering into the contract. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.030.

A notice of award must also be filed on the ESBD when the contract has been awarded. Tex. Gov’t Code §2155.083(k)(2).

If the contract exceeds $14,000, a notice must be sent to the LBB no later than the 10th day after entering into the contract. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.0301. However, LBB reporting guidelines qualify this requirement and allow agencies such as TxDOT with large numbers of contracts to file monthly reports instead.

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Reports

As part of the biennial budgetary hearing process conducted by the LBB and the Governor’s Office of Budget and Policy, TxDOT must supply reports on what action was taken in response to the recommendations of any private consultant during the previous biennium. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.037.

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Texas State Library

All documents, films, recordings, or reports produced by a private consultant must be filed with the Texas State Library. Tex. Gov’t Code §2254.036.

The Printing and Document Services Manual Chapter 7, "State Publications Deposit" has more detailed information.

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