September 23, 2011
Re: Temporary Bid Threshold Increase for Municipalities without a Qualified Purchasing Agent
The Division of Local Government Services has issued Local Finance Notice 2011-27 announcing the adoption of a temporary rule that permits a municipality with an individual qualified to sit for the Qualified Purchasing Agent (QPA) examination to increase their bid threshold to $26,000. P.L. 2009, c. 166 prohibits a municipality from increasing their bid threshold above $17,500 unless they appoint a QPA. This temporary rule will remain in effect, while the Division creates an examination and related rules are issued.
The new rule, N.J.A.C. 5:34-5.4 outlines the criteria that an individual must meet to sit for the QPA examination, as well as the process for the temporary bid threshold increase. An individual can complete an “Affidavit of QPA Qualification,” provided that he or she meets the following criteria:
i. Be a citizen of the United States, is of good moral character, and is a high school graduate or equivalent;
ii. Successfully completed Principles of Public Purchasing I, II, III, and one of the Municipal Finance Administration courses, all as provided by the Rutgers Center for Government Services; or have been performing the duties of a purchasing agent (as defined at N.J.A.C. 5:34-1.2) for at least three consecutive years.
iii. Possess two years of college education and two years of full-time governmental experience performing duties relative to public procurement. Additional years of experience may be substituted for the college education on a year-for-year basis.
iv. Attest that they will apply for either the first or second QPA certification exam to be administered by the Division, and participate in such exam. They shall further agree that their test score shall be provided to the contracting unit.
The individual must certify that they possess the required education and/or experience and that they exercise the duties of a purchasing agent, with specific relevance to the authority, responsibility, and accountability of the purchasing activity of the contracting unit. The Affidavit must also be certified by the individual’s supervisor, and chief executive officer of the contacting unit.
If the affidavit is completed, the municipality can then raise the bid threshold by adopting a resolution naming the individual, and setting the contracting unit’s bid threshold to an amount that does not exceed $26,000. The resolution and Affidavit must be submitted to the Director of the Division of Local Government Services. Once filed, the higher bid threshold is in effect.
Questions concerning this process can be e-mailed to DLGS.Certification@dca.state.nj.us.
Very truly yours,
William G. Dressel, Jr.