Vendor Relations (Complaints and Disputes)
School Board Policy
The School Board encourages prompt and fair handling of all complaints and disputes with the business community. In order to resolve disputed matters in an equitable manner, without fear of retribution on the part of the vendor, the following procedures are adopted:
With respect to a protest of the specifications contained in an Invitation To Bid or in a Request For Proposal, the notice of protest shall be filed with the Purchasing Office in writing within 72 hours after receipt of bid documents (plans, specifications, drawings, etc.). In the event this 72-hour period cannot be verified, notice must have been given within seven (7) days from the date of solicitation postmark. A formal written protest shall be filed within ten (10) calendar days from the date of notice and must cite the specific reasons for filing as well as any factual evidence supporting such claims.
With respect to a protest of the decision or intended decision to award, any person or firm adversely affected shall file a notice of protest with the Purchasing Office within 72 hours from the time of bid tabulation posting. Posting shall occur in the Purchasing Office on Tuesday preceding official School Board meetings. The formal written protest shall be filed within ten (10) calendar days from the date of notice and must cite the specific reasons for filing as well as any factual evidence supporting such claims.
All notices and protest documents must be delivered to the Purchasing Office along with a protest security in the amount equal to one percent (1%) of the estimate of the volume of the contract/bid. Such security shall be conditioned upon payment of all costs which may be adjudged against the protester in the administrative hearing in which the action is brought and in any subsequent court proceeding.
If, after completion of the administrative hearing process and any appellate court proceedings, The School Board of Sarasota County prevails, it shall recover all costs incurred in considering the protest and said amount shall be recovered, without interest if the protesting party should prevail.
Once submitted, only the reasons identified in the initial formal written protest shall be heard in each step of the process. Other topics, whether germane or not, will not be considered once the hearing process has commenced.
Upon receipt of a formal written protest, the following steps will be followed:
- Step 1: The Director of Materials Management will establish a time and date to discuss this matter with the protesting parties and attempt to resolve the dispute.
- Step 2: In the event, the matter has not been resolved to either party's satisfaction during Step 1, an administrative hearing will be established with the Superintendent or his/her appointed representative.
- Step 3: In the event, the matter is still unresolved to either party's satisfaction under Steps 1 and 2, the matter will be referred to the Division of Administrative Hearings of the Department of Administration.
The above policy is intended to comply with the Florida Administrative Procedures Act. Failure to file a protest within the time prescribed in Florida Statute 120.57(3) and School Board Rule 7.701 shall constitute a waiver of proceedings under Chapter 120, Florida Statutes.