Article - State Finance and Procurement
(a) This section applies to the procurement of supplies and services by a primary procurement unit.
(b) (1) Whenever the head of a primary procurement unit or designee determines that it is in the best interest of the State for a procurement contract to be based on auction bids, a procurement officer shall seek bids by issuing an invitation for auction bids.
(2) Subject to subsection (c) of this section, an invitation for auction bids shall include:
(i) the specifications of the procurement contract;
(ii) whether the procurement contract will be awarded based on the lowest bid price or the lowest evaluated bid price;
(iii) if the procurement contract will be based on evaluated bid price, the objective measurable criteria by which the lowest evaluated bid price will be determined;
(iv) the small business preference, if designated under § 13–103 of this subtitle; and
(v) the date and time when bidding will commence and the date and time when bidding will end or the event upon which bidding will end.
(c) (1) In the discretion of the procurement officer, the invitation for auction bids may:
(i) include a request for unpriced technical offers or samples;
(ii) direct bidders to submit price bids after the unit evaluates the technical offers or samples and finds they are acceptable under the criteria set forth in the invitation for auction bids; and
(iii) inform all bidders who submitted technical offers or samples of the identity of each bidder who submitted an acceptable technical offer or sample.
(2) Price bids may not be received until after the unit has completed evaluation of the technical offers or samples.
(3) A price bid may not be received at any time if the bid is submitted by a bidder whose technical offer or sample has been evaluated as unacceptable to the unit.
(d) A unit shall give public notice of an invitation for auction bids in the same manner as required for an invitation for bids.
(e) (1) (i) Multiple price bids are permitted in response to an invitation for auction bids.
(ii) When a bidder submits multiple bids, each bid shall be judged independently and shall not revoke previous bids of that bidder.
(2) A procurement officer shall:
(i) receive bids in public at the time and place designated in the invitation for auction bids; and
(ii) record the amount of each bid at the time it is received.
(3) (i) The amount of a price bid shall be available for public inspection from the time it is received.
(ii) The identity of the bidder submitting a price bid shall not be available for public inspection until bidding has ended.
(4) Except as provided in paragraph (5) of this subsection, a bid is irrevocable, after receipt, for the period specified in the invitation for auction bids.
(5) A procurement officer may allow a bidder to correct or withdraw a bid if correction or withdrawal is:
(i) allowed under regulations adopted under this Division II applicable to an invitation for bids; and
(ii) approved in writing by the Office of the Attorney General.
(f) (1) After obtaining any approval required by law, the procurement officer shall award the procurement contract to the responsible bidder who submits the responsive bid that:
(i) is the lowest bid price; or
(ii) if the invitation for auction bids so provides, is the lowest evaluated bid price.
(2) If, after bids have been received, a procurement officer determines that only one responsible bidder has submitted a responsive bid, the unit may negotiate the procurement contract with that one bidder under the procedure for sole source procurement.
(3) (i) After bids have been received, a procurement officer may award a procurement contract on the basis of revised bids if:
1. all bids are rejected under § 13–206(b) of this title;
2. all bid prices exceed the funds available for the procurement; or
3. with the approval of the head of a primary procurement unit or a designee, the procurement officer determines that all bids are unreasonable as to at least one requirement and the delay that would result from issuing a new invitation for auction bids with revised specifications or quantities would be fiscally disadvantageous or otherwise not in the best interests of the State.
(ii) If there is more than one bidder, discussions about revised specifications or quantities shall be conducted with all responsible bidders who submitted responsive bids. The bidders shall be treated fairly and equally with respect to any discussions.
(iii) If one of the conditions set forth under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph exists, as promptly as possible, the procurement officer shall:
1. issue an invitation for revised auction bids, which shall state whether the award will be made without competitive negotiations; and
2. require a prompt response to that invitation.
(iv) An invitation for revised auction bids is not subject to the notice requirements in subsection (d) of this section.
(v) After revised bids have been submitted, negotiations with bidders may not be conducted unless the procurement officer determines that there is a compelling reason to negotiate.
(vi) After revised bids have been received and any approval required by law has been obtained, the procurement officer shall award the procurement contract to the responsible bidder who submits a responsive bid that:
1. is the lowest bid price; or
2. if the invitation for revised bids so provides, is the lowest evaluated bid price.
(g) Not more than 30 days after the execution and approval of a procurement contract awarded under this section, a unit shall publish notice of the award in eMaryland Marketplace.