(A)   Adherence to procedures which ensure fairness is essential to the maintenance of public confidence in the value and soundness of the important process of public procurement. Therefore, any ex parte communication between a bidder, proposer, contractor or protestant (or its employees, agents or representatives) and the City (its members, employees, agents, legal counsel, contractors, or representatives) during the selection process and award is strictly prohibited. Ex parte communication is prohibited during the following periods:
      (1)   From the date of advertising of the solicitation through award of a contract; and
      (2)   From initiation of a protest of an award or contract through resolution for the parties involved in the protest.
   (B)   Exclusions. This requirement shall not prohibit:
      (1)   Pre-Bid and Pre-Proposal Meetings: Meetings called or requested by the Chief Procurement Officer and attended by bidders or proposers for the purpose of discussing a solicitation, evaluation or selection process including, but not limited to, substantive aspects of the solicitation document. Such meetings may include, but are not limited to, pre-bid or pre-proposal meetings, site visits to the City's facilities or property, site visits to bidders' or proposers' facilities, interviews/ negotiation sessions as part of the selection process, and presentations by proposers or submitting firms. Such authorized meetings shall be limited to topics specified by the Chief Procurement Officer;
      (2)   Solicitation documents may provide for communications from bidders or proposers to designated Procurement Department staff or discussion at meetings called or requested by the City pursuant to this subsection;
      (3)   Addressing the City Council regarding non-procurement topics at public meetings;
      (4)   The filing and processing of a written protest to any proposed award to be made pursuant to the solicitation, evaluation and selection process. Protest proceedings shall be limited to open public meetings, with no ex parte communications outside those meetings;
      (5)   Contacts by the City's current contractors but only in regard to:
         (a)   any work being performed on City projects unrelated to the solicitation, or
         (b)   any City projects under the prohibited ex parte communications for which the current contractors do not intend to submit a response or have not submitted a response to any solicitation documents for those projects;
      (6)   Communications between the Chief Procurement Officer or other City representatives and the bidder or contractor for routine matters arising from ongoing projects or contracts previously awarded;
      (7)   Contacts by bidders and proposers (actual or potential) and the City regarding other projects unrelated to the purchase for which the bidders or proposers (actual or potential) may intend to submit a response or have submitted a response to any competitive solicitation;
      (8)   Communications between the Chief Procurement Officer and bidders and/or proposers (actual or potential) for matters regarding pending purchases. Written questions shall be made to the named contact person;
      (9)   Addressing the City Council during the designated agenda item public comment portion of a meeting where the Council is considering award or permission to negotiate on solicitation that a bidder or proposer submitted on.
   (C)   Violation of this provision shall be grounds to: disqualify the violator from the award of the purchase, void any award to or contract with the violator, and/or temporarily suspend or permanently debar the violator from future contracts with the City.
(Ord. 2016-59, passed 8-16-16; Am. Ord. 2020-72, passed 11-5-20)