State raises ceiling on
nonbid purchases

By Jerry Tune

The state has changed its procurement law to make it easier for government to buy goods and services under $25,000.

Effective Nov. 17, these small purchases by government agencies no longer have to go out for competitive bid.

The definition of "small purchase" has been raised from $10,000 to $25,000 and a three-tiered system set up.

For purchases less than $4,999, the procurement official needs to deal with only one vendor; for purchases from $5,000 to $14,999, the official needs three telephone quotes; for purchases from $15,000 to $24,999, three written quotes are required.

"We can now take the most advantageous price and include factors such as quality and longer maintenance as a value judgement (in the decision)," said Lloyd Unebasami, administrator for the state procurement office for the executive branch.

There are 15 chief procurement officers in Hawaii representing executive, legislative and judicial branches of state and county governments.

These officials can set more stringent requirements than the new rules.

For example, Unebasami said he requires only one vendor up to $999; three telephone quotes from $1,000 to $14,999; and three written quotes from $15,000 to $24,999.

The new rules are for goods and services, but not for construction contracts, which still have a pre-bid requirement to make certain the contractor has the required licenses.

Unebasami said hearings are underway to amend the code and add health and human services to the $25,000 small-purchase standard.

About $1.5 billion in goods and services business are purchased each year by the state and counties.

At the airport Holiday Inn yesterday, the state Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism hosted about 100 vendors at a seminar to explain the procurement system.

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