Q&A: Purchasing statutes


Submitted by the Carroll County Comet (Delphi):

Q: Have you heard about a purchasing statute that allows government entities to get quotes for high-dollar purchases rather than advertise for bids? The Carroll County Commissioners are soliciting quotes (not bids) for a new jail roof with the expected cost of $150,000. I was told advertisement for bids was not necessary because they would use the “purchasing statute.”
The commissioners need to be more specific about what Indiana code they are citing to avoid bids.

A: There are several methods that government units can use when they need a specific object or service – generally found in I.C. 5-22 for purchasing or I.C. 5-23 for public-private agreements.

They include purchase of services (IC 5-22-6), competitive bidding (IC 5-22-7), negotiated bidding (IC 5-22-7.3), small purchases (IC 5-22-8), request for proposals (IC 5-22-9), and special purchasing methods (IC 5-22-10).

When you run into a situation like this, ask the county attorney to give you the statutory purchasing provisions they are using. After you have the code citation, we can see what provisions that specific statute contains.

If the commissioners are not going to use the standard competitive bidding process, they should know what process they are using to ensure they follow the law.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.