Assemblyman JOSEPH V. EGAN
District 17 (Middlesex and Somerset)
Concerns bid specifications for local public contracts.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning local public contract bid specifications and amending P.L.1971, c.198.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 13 of P.L.1971, c.198 (C.40A:11-13) is amended to read as follows:
13. Specifications. Any specifications for the provision or performance of goods or services under this act shall be drafted in a manner to encourage free, open and competitive bidding. In particular, no specifications under this act may:
(a) Require any standard, restriction, condition or limitation not directly related to the purpose, function or activity for which the contract is awarded; or
(b) Require that any bidder be a resident of, or that the bidder's place of business be located in, the county or municipality in which the contract will be awarded or performed, unless the physical proximity of the bidder is requisite to the efficient and economical performance of the contract; except that no specification for a contract for the collection and disposal of municipal solid waste shall require any bidder to be a resident of, or that the bidder's place of business be located in, the county or municipality in which the contract will be performed; or
(c) Discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin , creed, color, ancestry, age, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, familial status, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or nationality; or
(d) Require, with regard to any contract, the furnishing of [any] a single source or "brand name," but may in all cases require ["brand name or equivalent,"] a minimum of two “brand names” or equivalents or a description that can be met by more than one bidder; except that if the goods or services to be provided or performed are proprietary, such goods or services may be purchased by stipulating the proprietary goods or services in the bid specification in any case in which the resolution authorizing the contract so indicates, and the special need for such proprietary goods or services is directly related to the performance, completion or undertaking of the purpose for which the contract is awarded; or
(e) Fail to include any option for renewal, extension, or release which the contracting unit may intend to exercise or require; or any terms and conditions necessary for the performance of any extra work; or fail to disclose any matter necessary to the substantial performance of the contract.
Any specification which knowingly excludes prospective bidders by reason of the impossibility of performance, bidding or qualification by any but one bidder, except as provided herein, shall be null and void and of no effect and shall be readvertised for receipt of new bids, and the original contract shall be set aside by the governing body.
Any specification for a contract for the collection and disposal of municipal solid waste shall conform to the uniform bid specifications for municipal solid waste collection contracts established pursuant to section 22 of P.L.1991, c.381 (C.48:13A-7.22).
Any specification may include an item for the cost, which shall be paid by the contractor, of creating a file to maintain the notices of the delivery of labor or materials required by N.J.S.2A:44-128.
Any prospective bidder who wishes to challenge a bid specification shall file such challenges in writing with the contracting agent no less than three business days prior to the opening of the bids. Challenges filed after that time shall be considered void and having no impact on the contracting unit or the award of a contract.
(cf: P.L.1999, c.440, s.19)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill provides that a local contracting unit may not specify a single “brand name” or equivalent when soliciting bids for contracts for goods or services. The bill allows specifications to require a minimum of two “brand names” or equivalents or a description that can be met by more than one bidder. While imposing this change upon units of government that must comply with the “Local Public Contracts Law,” P.L.1971, c.198 (C.40A:11-1 et seq.), the bill retains the provision allowing specifications for proprietary goods or services.