(A)   Any actual or prospective bidder or proposer who is allegedly aggrieved in connection with a formal solicitation issued by the City and pending award in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or more may submit a written protest to the Chief Procurement Officer which may be heard before the City Council, provided such bidder or proposer may have been awarded the contract but for the aggrieved action.
   (B)   A formal written protest must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m., local time, within five (5) business days after posting of the award recommendation.
   (C)   The calculation of days shall exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays observed by the City. The day of the award recommendation posting shall be included in the calculation. Service of a protest by mail or courier shall not expand the time period allowed for delivery of a protest.
   (D)   The formal written protest shall:
      (1)   Identify the protestant and the solicitation involved;
      (2)   Include a clear statement of the grounds on which the protest is based;
      (3)   Refer to the statutes, laws, codes, or other legal authorities which the protestant deems applicable to such grounds; and,
      (4)   Request the specific relief to which the protestant deems itself entitled.
   (E)   Any grounds not stated in the protest shall be deemed waived.
   (F)   Protest fee: The formal protest must be accompanied by a protest application fee in the amount of five percent (5%) of the total amount of the recommended purchase award; or if no dollar amount is included in the purchase award recommendation, a protest application fee/protest bond must be in the amount of one thousand five hundred dollars ($1,500.00). The maximum (cap) amount of the protest application fee for any protest shall be five thousand dollars ($5,000.00). The protest application fee must be in the form of a cashier's check, certified check, or an attorney's trust account check payable to the City of Palm Bay. Cash is not acceptable.
   (G)   The written protest may not challenge the relative weight of the evaluation criteria or any formula for assigning points in a competitive solicitation.
   (H)   The protestant shall mail a copy of the formal written protest to the firm or firms recommended for award, and shall provide the Chief Procurement Officer with evidence of such mailing.
   (I)   A written protest is considered filed with the City when it is received by the office of the Chief Procurement Officer within the timeframe specified above.
   (J)   Failure to file a written protest within the time period specified shall result in relinquishment of all rights of protest by the vendor and abrogation of any further protest proceedings.
   (K)   The protest procedures herein shall be the sole remedy for challenging a competitive solicitation. Any and all costs incurred by a protesting party in connection with a protest pursuant to this Ordinance shall be the sole responsibility of the protesting party.
   (L)   Bidders and proposers are prohibited from attempts to influence, persuade or promote through any other channels or means. Such attempts shall be cause for suspension in accordance with § 38.16 of this Ordinance.
   (M)   The Chief Procurement Officer, in consultation with the City Manager and City Attorney, shall attempt to resolve the protest in a fair and equitable manner. The judicial rules of evidence shall not apply and the Chief Procurement Officer shall base his or her decision on such information presented in the course of the proceeding upon which reasonable persons rely in the conduct of their affairs. The Chief Procurement Officer shall render a written decision to the protestant via certified U. S. mail.
   (N)   The protestant may appeal such decision to City Council by delivering written notice to the Chief Procurement Officer within three (3) business days of the vendor's receipt of the written decision by the Chief Procurement Officer.
   (O)   Upon receipt of a timely notice of appeal, the Chief Procurement Officer will request that the City Manager schedule the protest for consideration by the City Council, which may affirm, reverse, or modify the Chief Procurement Officer's decision.
   (P)   The Chief Procurement Officer's consideration of a timely protest shall stay the award process with the exception of § 38.15(Q) herein.
   (Q)   The City Manager may make a recommendation that the contract as originally recommended to be awarded shall be awarded without delay as necessary to protect substantial interests of the City. In that case, the City Council may, in its sole discretion, dismiss the appeal or reject all bids and proposals, which will render it moot.
   (R)   Nothing in this section is intended to affect the existing powers of the City Council to settle actions pending before the Courts. In the event of a court upholding the protestant's claim, the court awarded damages on behalf of the protestant shall be solely limited to bid/proposal preparation costs, and reimbursement of the amount of the protest application fee/protest bond as stipulated herein.
   (S)   The dispute resolution and protest process may be further delineated in the Procurement Administrative Codes.
(Ord. 2016-59, passed 8-16-16; Am. Ord. 2020-72, passed 11-5-20)