This procedure describes the bid process designed to ensure that goods and services the ACPE purchases are competitively priced.


It is the policy of the ACPE to require the use of a bid process for the purchase of all goods and services under the following criteria:

  • Purchase value: $0-$5,000 — No Bid required.
  • $5,000-up — Written bids from at least three (3) independent vendors.

The bidding process begins with a written request for proposal (RFP) to ensure uniformity among bids. For example, competing printers must bid on the same kind of paper, with the same, or similar, turnaround in order for the bids to be comparable, and only a written RFP assures that each bidder must deal with the same set of specifications.

Once all bids are received, they shall be evaluated by ACPE management and the vendor that best meets the needs expressed in the RFP shall be selected. ACPE recognizes that factors other than price are important in selecting a vendor and that the lowest bid may not be selected in all cases. In the event the lowest bid is not accepted, a written justification to the Treasurer must be prepared explaining the basis for the selection. As part of the RFP development activity, the criteria by which bids shall be evaluated are to be established. If specific criteria are to be weighted for purposes of review and evaluation, these weighting factors shall be developed at the time the criteria are defined.

Copies of all bids must be attached to the purchase order (PO), along with a written justification if the lowest price is not selected.


Bids are not required when there is only one vendor for a particular service or product or when timing is a critical issue that prevents the opportunity to give vendors sufficient time to develop a proposal. These circumstances must be documented and approved by the Chair prior to any services performed and a PO is requested. Contractual relationships are to be documented and maintained in the ACPE office with a copy of the payment criteria or schedule to ACPE management. ACPE management shall review these relationships annually or as appropriate.

Purchase Orders

This procedure describes the ACPE’s purchase order preparation process designed to ensure that goods and services are purchased in accordance with the ACPE’s bid process and are properly authorized prior to placing an order.

Appropriate signatures, per the table below, represent that the purchase is authorized and is in accordance with ACPE needs and policies, and money has been budgeted for this line item expense.

The approval criteria are as follows and may be submitted electronically:

  • $0-5,000: Purchase order is optional, Executive Director approval optional, except for fixed assets, which require a PO, along with Treasurer approval
  • $5,001-10,000: Executive Director and Treasurer
  • $10,000-up: Executive Director, Treasurer and Board chair

All purchase orders must be prepared using the current ACPE Purchase Order form. A complete vendor name and address must be included in the PO. If the goods are to be shipped to an address other than the ACPE office, a complete ship to shipping address, including a recipient’s name must be included on the PO. The PO must be signed by ACPE management, as well as those in the table above, dependent upon cost. An example of a complete PO can be found in the appendices of this manual.

Purchase orders must be prepared and approved prior to placing an order for goods or services, even when price or quantity is not precisely known, not from vendor invoices. In the event the quantity and/or cost is not known, a reasonable estimate shall be made, clearly indicating how the estimation was derived and what is included.

All POs must be coded with the complete account number, or multiple account numbers if more than one shall be charged.

Once a PO has been completed and approved, copies shall be made for the file, Associate Executive Director, and originator.

Special Arrangements

Once the term has concluded on contracts and POs, the relationship between the vendor and the ACPE also has concluded. Such vendors may be eligible to submit a bid or answer an ACPE RFP for additional projects/activities. No contract or PO between the ACPE and a vendor or supplier shall have the provision for an automatic renewal at the conclusion of the current term of the agreement. The appropriate bidding procedures as defined in this document shall be followed.