The following resources are available to help vendors understand and navigate the procurement process.
Register with the Minnesota Secretary of State
Before entering into a contract with Ramsey County, a domestic corporation must submit a Certificate of Good Standing. A foreign corporation must submit a Certificate of Authority. Both are issued by the Minnesota Secretary of State's Office. All vendors must maintain a Certificate of Good Standing or Certificate of Authority throughout the term of the contract, including amendments to renew.
Vendors do not need to register with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State or have a Certificate of Good Standing or a Certificate of Authority before participating in a Ramsey County solicitation. However, an awarded vendor must register with the State before Ramsey County can execute a contract. The county will not reimburse costs related to the registration process.
If a vendor is not yet registered with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State and is the awarded vendor resulting from a Ramsey County solicitation, the county will issue a Notice of Intent to Award to the vendor. When applicable, this Notice of Intent will request that a Certificate of Good Standing or a Certificate of Authority be submitted to Ramsey County within 10 business days of the date of the Notice of Intent to Award. The awarded vendor must supply the required documentation within the requested timeframe for Ramsey County to execute a contract.
If you have questions or require assistance, contact the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State, Business Services Division, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Glossary of procurement terms
|Anticipated contract value||An estimate of the total amount that may be spent under the terms of a contract. Calculation of the anticipated contract value includes the anticipated spend under the original term, plus any anticipated spend for all contract renewal options. If the contract is strictly rate-setting, and does not stipulate a dollar amount that cannot be exceeded, the department must assume the contract will exceed the standard $175,000 or $250,000 for SBEs.|
|Bid bond||A guarantee that if a bid is accepted, the contractor will honor the bid, sign all related contract documents. Applies to all construction RFB responses over $175,000 (including SBEQs). Checks are not accepted.|
|Capital asset||Property used in operations that has an estimated useful life exceeding one year and meets the capitalization criteria.|
|Capital asset tag||Numbered tag assigned to each movable capital asset which identifies the item as county property. When practical, a tag should be affixed on each capital asset in a visible location. New asset tags may be obtained from the asset management functional lead in the Finance Department.|
|Central Certification Program (CERT)||A certification program created to promote market growth and increase competitiveness of qualified small businesses. CERT is a collaboration of Hennepin County, Ramsey County, the City of Saint Paul and the City of Minneapolis. The City of Saint Paul is the lead agency for CERT.|
|CERT Small Business Enterprise (CERT SBE)||A for-profit independently owned firm, corporation, or establishment that meets the following requirements: small number of employees; small amount of assets; low sales volume and limited impact on the market; located in the Minnesota counties of Anoka, Benton, Carver, Chisago, Dakota, Hennepin, Isanti, Ramsey, Scott Sherburne, Stearns, Washington, and Wright; or the Wisconsin counties of Pierce and St. Croix; has received SBE certification through an application process administered by the CERT lead agency. Contractors may be certified as a small business enterprise (SBE), small minority owned business enterprise (SMBE), small woman owned business enterprise (SWBE) or a small minority-woman owned small business enterprise (SMWBE).|
|Certified Small Business Enterprise Quote (SBEQ)||A document that is used as a competitive solicitation for anticipated contract values of $10,000.01-$250,000. The SBEQ is emailed or faxed SBEs and two quotes must be received. SEML and construction awards must be given to the lowest responsive and responsible contractor. PCS awards allow for consideration of factors other than cost including, but not limited to, qualifications, previous experience, quality, life cycle costs, and availability.|
|Certified property inventory control liaison||A person that is authorized to enter, retire, and adjust assets in Aspen. Certification is obtained from Finance after completion of the asset management certification training.|
|Change order||A written contract amendment that is issued to modify or amend an original contract. Typically, a change order responds to changes caused by unanticipated conditions encountered during a project that were not addressed by the project plans or specifications.|
|Client services (CS)||A service the county provides to persons that the county is responsible to serve. Examples include, but are not limited to: GED services, vocational and psychological evaluations, social services and case management.|
|Client services agreement (CSA)||A written agreement for procurement of client services, electronically approved thru SCM (signed) by authorized a county representative and contractor. To be effective and legal, a contract must include offer and acceptance by competent parties and describe services to be furnished for an agreed monetary consideration. Contracts must include provisions necessary to define the rights of the parties to the contract. All services provided to county clients by outside contractors must be on a contractual basis. “Original term” means the initial period of the contract term not including renewal options. Renewals must be completed thru an amendment process prior to contract expiration. An expired contract cannot be amended to renew.|
People who are asked by Ramsey County to represent and advocate for the interests of their local communities. They are not agents, employees, consultants or elected officials of Ramsey County.
Methods used to obtain contractor responses in the form of competitive quotes, proposals, or bids. Methods include:
All competitive solicitations include procurement and are released on DemandStar with the exception of SBEQs.
|Construction||The process of utilizing labor to create, build, alter, repair, improve, or demolish any structure, building or public improvement. This term does not apply to routine maintenance, repair, or operation (MRO) of existing real property.|
|Continuous Request for Proposals (RFP) posting||
A continuous RFP is used when services that the County is required to provide are client/resident focused, in an industry with limited and/or volatile competition in the marketplace. Initially, the RFP is released, evaluated and highest scoring contractor(s) are awarded contracts. Once contracts are executed, the RFP may be reposted for up to five years. Changes cannot be made to the RFP at any time. Proposals received after the initial contract award must be evaluated using the same criteria, evaluation scoring method and, to the extent possible, same evaluation team as the initial RFP.
|Contract||For SEML, a contract consists of either a PO and SCM terms and conditions or an Aspen procurement contract and SCM terms and conditions. For PCS, a contract consists of either a PO and SCM terms and conditions ($10,000 and under) or an Aspen procurement contract and SCM Professional Services Agreement (PSA) or Client Services Agreement (CSA). To be effective and legal, a contract must include offer and acceptance by competent parties and describe services to be furnished for an agreed monetary consideration. Contracts must include provisions necessary to define the rights of the parties to the contract. All services provided to the county or county clients by outside contractors must be on a contractual basis. “Original term” means the initial period of the contract term not including renewal options. Renewals must be completed thru an amendment process prior to contract expiration. An expired contract cannot be amended to renew.|
|Contractor||A general reference to a supplier/seller of goods and/or services. May also be referred to as “vendor” or “supplier.”|
|Contract representative||A general reference to a person(s) within a department who is responsible for creating PSA or CSA and contract amendments, resulting from a direct purchase or competitive solicitation, and administering and managing all SEML, construction and PCS contracts.|
|Cooperative master contract||A contract established by a public entity, consortium, or cooperative for use by other authorized public entities in order to purchase SEML, construction or PCS at a competitive price that may not otherwise be available to an individual public entity. The contract must be the result of a competitive solicitation that complies with Minnesota statutory requirements for solicitation and contract award, the contract specifically states other public agencies may purchase from the contract, and the purchase is within the scope and dollar threshold established by the master contract. All cooperative master contracts must have approval of Procurement prior to use.|
|County||Ramsey County, a political subdivision of the State of Minnesota.|
|Debarment||A process to bring a sanction against a contractor to prohibit them from bidding or engaging in future procurement opportunities.|
|DemandStar||An internet purchasing network used to post competitive solicitations. DemandStar offers contractors immediate and automatic notification of solicitation announcements, documents, results, and prior solicitation information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contractor subscription to DemandStar is free.|
|Design-Build||A method of project delivery in which one entity (design-builder) has a single contract with the county to provide for architectural engineering design services and construction services.|
|Direct purchase||Methods used to obtain contractor responses without a competitive solicitation. Direct purchases must be within county board or county manager delegations of authority, and they must be executed following existing procurement policies and procedures. Such methods include emergency purchase, single/sole source, small order purchase and state or cooperative master contract purchases. Direct purchases are not released on DemandStar.|
|Emergency purchase||A purchase made due to an unexpected and urgent request where health and safety or the conservation of public resources is at risk. Formal competitive bidding procedures are usually waived.|
|Information technology (IT)||Hardware (e.g., computers, smart boards, or mobile devices such as smart phones or tablets), software, and consulting services related to networks or systems (e.g., applications, computers, databases, etc.).|
|Labor services (L)||Services that are not professional or client services. Typically associated with a trade and must ensure compliance with the MN Department of Labor and Industry requirements including prevailing wage. Examples include, but are not limited to, janitorial, security, electrical, plumbing, etc.|
|Late solicitation responses||A contractor’s response to a solicitation received, at the designated place for receipt, after the established due date and time.|
|Minnesota cooperative purchasing venture (CPV)||Established by Minn. Stat. §16C.03, subd.10, CVP allows eligible entities to purchase goods, certain services and utilities, from contracts established by the Materials Management Division (MMD) for Minnesota state agencies.|
|Notice of intent to award (NOIA)||A public notice that is issued as a result of a solicitation process to the apparent successful contractor, which may require the submission of specified items, such as evidence of insurance and bonds, prior to contract execution.|
|Payment bond||A guarantee that the contractor will pay subcontractors and suppliers the money they are due. Payment bonds are required for all public works contracts when the labor portion of the project is over $175,000. Checks are not accepted.|
|Performance bond||A guarantee that the contractor will complete the project in accordance with the contract terms, including price and time. Payment bonds are required for all public works contracts when the labor portion of the project is over $175,000. Checks are not accepted.|
|Prevailing wage||Shall have the meaning contained in Minnesota Statutes §177.42, Subd. 6, as determined from time to time by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for the area where the project is located or where the services are provided. In those instances where the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry has not certified and published a prevailing rate of wages and benefits for a particular work classification, the prevailing wage rate to be paid for such work classification means the union wage rate and benefit rate in the locality of the project or services for such classification over which the union has jurisdiction. Minnesota Statutes §§177.41 to 177.44 also require the payment of prevailing wages as established by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry for all construction projects funded in whole or in part by state funds. Failure to comply with the aforementioned may result in civil or criminal penalties. Prevailing wage rate must be paid under any contract with Ramsey County or under a subcontract to that contract with Ramsey County with an anticipated project completion cost or anticipated services contract value of over $25,000. Prevailing wage projects mean: construction, demolition, excavation, remodeling or repair on any roads, bridges, sewers, streets, alleys, parks, parkways, buildings, removal of public nuisances or any other improvement made to public or private property. Prevailing wage services mean: private security services, custodial services, or vehicle towing services provided to the county.|
|Procurement contract (CC)||
An Aspen transaction that is not a PO, against which multiple POs may be placed. All such POs utilize rate settings stated in the CC. The total amount spent on these POs may not exceed the limit stated in the CC. All CCs must include an associated SCM contract document.
The total term of a CC, including renewals, may not exceed five years. CCs are typically used one of two ways:
|Procurement specialist||A county Finance department employee in charge of purchasing or procuring supplies, equipment, materials, construction and services including contract administration functions for all RC and CC contracts and all contracts for small and medium size departments. Includes principal procurement specialists, senior procurement specialist and procurement specialist.|
|Professional services (PS)||Individual services provided directly to the county that do not constitute labor and are provided by members of a recognized profession or by persons possessing a special skill. Examples include, but are not limited to, training, project management, evaluation, planning, architectural, engineering and auditing.|
|Professional services agreement (PSA)||A written agreement electronically approved thru SCM (signed) by authorized county representatives and a contractor for the procurement of professional services. To be effective and legal, a contract must include offer and acceptance by competent parties and describe services to be furnished for an agreed monetary consideration. Contracts must include provisions necessary to define the rights of the parties to the contract. All services provided to the county by outside contractors must be on a contractual basis. Original term means the initial period of the contract term not including renewal options. Renewals must be completed thru an amendment process prior to contract expiration. An expired contract cannot be amended to renew. The corresponding Aspen transaction is a CC or a PO (only an option for anticipated contract values of $10,000 and under).|
|Project labor agreement (PLA)||
A written agreement between a construction contractor and one or more building trades councils that represent construction crafts. A PLA is put in place by an owner for a specific construction project to:
PLAs are generally applicable to large, complex, multi-year projects that involve a large number of workers in multiple crafts working for multiple employers, where time is of the essence and especially where collective bargaining agreements will expire during the term of the project.
|Public surplus||An online auction service used by Ramsey County for posting surplus for sale or internal reallocation.|
|Public works||Any new construction, alteration, repair, improvement to, or demolition of, any structure, building, road, bridge, viaduct, pipeline, or any other public improvements, but does not include routine maintenance, repair, or operation of existing real property. Public works may be completed by any appropriate Ramsey County department, including, but not limited to, the Ramsey County public works department.|
|Purchase order (PO)||An Aspen transaction that is not a CC, used only for one-time purchases specific to the department that makes the requisition. A PO is a one-time purchase equating to a one-time payment. Departments may use POs for purchases of PCS with anticipated contract values $10,000 and under. All SEML and construction POs over $10,000 must include an associated SCM Terms and Conditions contract document.|
|Qualified contractor pool (QCP)||An option in an RFB used to create a short list of qualified contractors resulting in contract with each qualified contractor. QCPs are exclusively used for contractors that provide SEML and construction over $175,000. When a specific project becomes available, the county will send a quote request to a minimum of three contractors in the pool and select the contractor who submitted the lowest responsive and responsible quote.|
|Ramsey County master contract (RC)||A contract established by a Ramsey County department that may be used by other county departments. A Ramsey County master contract is the result of either a RFB for SEML and construction or RFP for PCS and is a competitive solicitation that complies with Minnesota statutory requirements for solicitation and contract award. All Ramsey County master contracts must include language stating that the resulting contract will be a Ramsey County master contract for use by Ramsey County departments.|
|Request for bids (RFB)||A document used to publicly solicit competitive sealed bids for specifically identified and described SEML and construction with an anticipated contract value of over $175,000. The award must be given to the lowest responsive and responsible contractor.|
|Request for information (RFI)||A document used to obtain contractor comments and feedback on marketplace topics such as best practices, industry standards, pricing options and technology options. An RFI may be used to gather information for general informational purposes or for development of a solicitation so long as the specifications or scope are not written specific to one outcome or contractor. RFIs may be used for SEML, construction or PCS. An RFI is not a competitive solicitation. RFIs do include interviews/demonstrations but do not include site visits. An RFI does not result in a contract award.|
|Request for proposals (RFP)||A document used to publicly solicit proposals for PCS and design-build with an anticipated contract value of over $175,000. PCS awards allow for consideration of factors other than cost. Other factors may include qualifications, previous experience, quality, life cycle costs and availability.|
|Request for quotes (RFQ)||A document used to publicly solicit responses for specifically identified and described SEML, construction, or PCS with an anticipated contract value from $10,000.01 up to and including $175,000. The award for SEML and construction must be given to the lowest responsive and responsible contractor. PCS awards allow for consideration of factors other than cost. Other factors may include qualifications, previous experience, quality, life cycle costs, and availability.|
|Request for qualifications (RFQu)||A document used to publicly solicit statements of qualifications from contractors for PCS with an anticipated contract value over $175,000 in order to create a shortlist of qualified contractors who will be invited to participate in a subsequent RFP specific to the solicited PCS. Contracts are not awarded directly from an RFQu process.|
|Requisition||A request generated in Aspen by a county department containing purchasing requirements related to SEML, construction or PCS and design-build to be purchased.|
|Responsible||A term used to describe a contractor who is qualified to meet all of the requirements of a solicitation. To be qualified, the contractor must possess the full capability, including financial and technical, to perform in accordance with the requirements set forth in the solicitation document. The contractor must be able to fully document the ability to provide good faith performance.|
|Responsive||A term used to describe a solicitation response that fully complies in all material respects with the requirements of the solicitation document.|
|Salvage value||The expected sale value of a capital asset or equipment at the end of its useful life.|
|Scope of work||A detailed, written description of the conceptual requirements for PCS and design-build services. The scope of work should establish a clear understanding of what is required by the entity.|
|Single source procurement||A direct purchase of professional or client services from one particular contractor even though other competitive sources may be available. Having a contractor provide additional services based on the experience and knowledge they have gained, along with their unique talents, allows the county to advance important county initiatives while saving the county time and money.|
|Small order purchase (micro)||Any procurement not exceeding a given upper monetary limit, as established by state statute and federal requirements. The Ramsey County upper monetary limit for a small order purchase is $10,000. Purchases cannot be divided in order to fit the small order purchase threshold.|
|Sole source procurement||A situation created due to the inability to obtain competition. May result because only one contractor or supplier possesses the unique ability or capability to meet the particular requirements of the solicitation. The procurement authority may require a justification from the requesting agency explaining why this is the only source for the requirement.|
|Solicitations||Methods used to select a contractor for purposes of entering into a contract. Solicitations are categorized as either direct purchases or competitive solicitations.|
|Specifications||A concise statement of a set of requirements to be met by SEML and construction that indicates the procedures to determine whether the requirements are satisfied. Requirements are expressed numerically in terms of appropriate units, together with their limits. A specification may be a standard, a part of a standard, or independent of a standard.|
Any person or business entity contracted by the primary contractor to perform part of its contractual obligation with Ramsey County.
|System vendor number (SVN)||A tracking number given to a contractor who receives CERT SBE certification.|
|Supplies, equipment or materials (SEM)||All tangible items purchased or consumed by an organization.|
|Surety||An insurance company, bank, individual or corporation obligated by a contract to pay or perform if a contractor fails to pay or perform. All bonds must be provided by a surety authorized to do business in the State of Minnesota.|
|Surplus||Capital assets and equipment that are no longer needed by a department.|
|Surplus disposal equipment (includes furniture and machinery)||Assets that are used in operations that have a useful life greater than one year from the in-service date, with a value less than $5,000 including: furniture, machinery, computers, printers, radios, and vehicles.|
|Third party provider||
Generally, a business entity or person who ultimately receives monetary payment from a primary contractor as a result of rendering contractual obligations in satisfaction of a contract between the primary contractor and Ramsey County.
The following is a list of many of the state laws that govern purchasing by the county:
- 15.71 Public Contracts; Definitions
- 181.59 Discrimination Prohibited
- 331A.04 Designation of a Newspaper for Official Publication
- 375.21 Contracts of County Boards
- 471.425 Prompt Payment of Local Government Bills
- 471.345 Uniform Municipal Contracting Law
- 471.59 Joint Exercise of Powers
- 574.26 Contractors’ Bonds for Public Work