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A New Way to do Business with Cuyahoga County

Posted on

Media Contact: Kelly Woodard - (216) 250-6146, klwoodard@cuyahogacounty.us

 

A proposed revision to the Cuyahoga County Code aims to modernize government contracts

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH - A proposed ordinance change could make it easier to do business with Cuyahoga County.

The Ronayne Administration is proposing a revision to County Code Chapter 501, which regulates contracts and purchasing procedures. If approved by the Cuyahoga County Council, the new ordinance would significantly raise the spending and bidding thresholds. Currently, departments require Board of Control and Council approval for expenditures up to $1,000. The new policy would authorize department spending up to $10,000. The Purchasing Department’s quote threshold would also increase to $10,000 - $25,000. The Board of Control would gain approval authority over all County contracts and purchases valued from $25,000 - $1.5 million. The governing body would still receive reports for all contracts between $1,000 - $25,000. The County Executive’s approval authority to execute contracts would increase to $25,000 from the current $5,000 threshold ensuring his continued role in the process. The threshold for formal competitive bidding would increase from $50,000 to $250,000 and the minimum level for informal competitive bidding would increase from $5,000 to $25,000.

Cuyahoga County Code Chapter 501

CurrentProposed
Department Approval (Purchases)Up to $1,000Up to $1,000
Purchasing Department Approval (Purchases)$1,000-$5,000$10,000-$25,000
Board of ControlReports: $1,000-$5,000
Approval: $5,000-$500,000
Reports: $1,000-$25,000
Approval: $25,000-$1.5 million
County Executive (Contracts)Up to $5,000Up to $25,000

 

“Revising Chapter 501 isn’t just about updating rules; it’s about redefining how we do business with Cuyahoga County,” said Cuyahoga County Executive Chris Ronayne. “The goal is to streamline processes, foster efficiency, and modernize systems, leading to a more effective and accessible government. Ultimately, this will empower individuals and businesses to thrive in our community and contribute to its growth.”

Recruiting vendors to work with the County has been a problem due to the need for timely payments, especially for core services like protecting our children in Health and Human Services or repairing roads and bridges. Our procurement process takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. The proposed revision would shorten the time to 4 to 6 weeks, enhance the process for initiating, negotiating, and executing contracts, and ensure a more efficient process from start to finish.

“We have carefully listened and responded to the needs of our customers,” said Paul Porter, Director of the Cuyahoga County Department of Purchasing. If approved, the new procurement system will be more responsive and accountable. The Council President will be able to send any Board of Control item to the full Council for consideration, ensuring a thorough and comprehensive review process.

Cuyahoga County’s procurement proposal is based on best practices in other counties in Ohio and across the country, such as Summit, Franklin, Hamilton, Montgomery, Hennepin (Minnesota), and Allegheny (Pennsylvania).

“The new ordinance will create opportunity and efficiency for vendors, contractors, and business owners,” remarks Director Porter. “We’re not just improving processes; we’re opening doors and building a more vendor-friendly environment while emphasizing our commitment to vendor diversity and fiscal transparency.”

The ordinance increases the minimum open period for informal solicitations to three business days instead of the current eight hours, and departments will be required to notify registered small, minority-owned, and women-owned businesses of any opportunity to do business with the County in excess of $1,000. Porter adds, “We recognize that all businesses, regardless of size or resources, have something to offer Cuyahoga County. The new process encourages more business owners to submit bids and build trust in timely payments for services provided to the County.” Formal solicitations will continue to be open for a minimum of 30 days, and our language changes emphasize Requests for Proposals and Requests for Qualifications as equivalent to Requests for Bid, acknowledging that it is often in the County’s interest to evaluate factors beyond pricing when awarding contracts or purchases.

The County Code Chapter 501 legislation is currently pending a hearing before Cuyahoga County Council’s Committee of the Whole.

Cuyahoga County is currently reviewing its financial management procedures, which are regulated by County Code Chapter 701. The County is also revamping the Request for Proposal submission process, transitioning vendors to an electronic payment system, and providing fiscal and Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERP) training to eliminate errors in invoicing and payment processing. These changes aim to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the County's financial systems.

To learn how to do business with Cuyahoga County, browse our purchasing forecast, or access training resources for vendors, visit cuyahogacounty.gov/purchasing.

 

 



  
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