Billions of dollars are spent each year by Alabama state and local governments on purchasing commodities as well as contractual or professional services. The current trend toward privatization and outsourcing has led to an increased level of procurement activity.
The laws surrounding local and state procurements can be diverse and complex. In some cases, there may be added confusion about federally imposed requirements. A reliable attorney with knowledge of Alabama procurement laws can help you successfully navigate this vibrant yet challenging business opportunity.
Overview of the Alabama Government Procurement Laws
The Competitive Bid Law and the Public Works Law are two procurement laws that apply to almost every purchase made by local governmental entities and county commissions. These two statutes contain all the requirements that need to be satisfied for providing goods or services to governmental entities.
Attorneys on both sides of the contracting process need to have an in-depth understanding of these laws. In case these laws are not complied with, the contracts entered shall be considered null, void, and unenforceable in violation of the Public Works Law or Competitive Bid Law. In addition, the violations may also attract Class C felony charges.
By having a business law attorney with extensive experience on your side, you will be able to enter successful procurement contracts with the Alabama government. These are a few common products and services that have complicated processes:
- Concession agreements.
- Compliance with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) programs, Minority and Women Businesses Enterprise (MWBE), and Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE).
- Custom and commercial products.
- Education products and services.
- Construction and development.
- Food services.
- Healthcare products and services.
- Environmental remediation.
- Financial Services.
- Information technology.
- Land use and zoning.
- Homeland security.
- Professional services.
- Real estate.
- Transportation activities, projects, studies, products, and services.
- Public-private partnerships (PPP).
- Water products and services.
Responding to Government Solicitations
You might decide to wait to get in touch with the state and local procurement counsel until after the proposals and bids have been opened and the intended decision has been posted by the procuring agency. However, this approach can prevent you from maximizing success by taking full advantage of the pre-proposal and pre-bid opportunities.
It can also place you at a serious disadvantage, especially where not taking action within a short timeframe can jeopardize the right to challenge a decision or specification requested by the procuring agency. Your attorney will place special emphasis on the early procurement process to enhance your competitive edge.
They will work closely with you for attaining a better understanding of particular nuances, complexities, preferences of decision-makers, and unwritten sensitivities of the state or local jurisdiction. This understanding can prove to be very helpful when convincing procurement agencies to renew or extend an existing contract as well.
You should be able to anticipate and avoid various problems early on in the competitive procurement process. Your attorney will ensure that any possible protest issues don’t get waived away. Certain state and local jurisdictions allow bidders to challenge the specifications if an unfair advantage is created for one bidder or a potential bidder is prevented from participating in the procurement process.
Protests Regarding Bid and RFP
In some cases, you may need to file and defend bid RFP protests in both local and state forums. You need to make sure you gain a fair idea of the time and expense involved in RFP protests before going down this path. You should also identify the public and political ramifications.
In short, you should only file and continue protests where you are absolutely sure of the merits. Bid and RFP protests require knowledgeable attorneys and other support personnel. They should have experience in jurisdictions that impose severe time restraints.
Advice on Contract Counseling, Compliance, and Performance
You can protect your position in case of later disputes with early advice. This can also be useful during investigations and audits. An experienced attorney can assist you in negotiating contracts with both local and state government authorities.
It’s vital to understand that the complexities don’t just end with procuring the contract. It reflects on the execution of a contract awarded to a client as well. There may be instances of contract disputes with the local or state governments as well, and you will need adequate representation during these disputes.
Get a Reputable Alabama Business Contract Attorney on Your Side
The knowledgeable attorneys at the BHM Law Group have substantial experience with the evolving and complex rules and policies governing procurement. Our attorneys are ready to guide you through this complicated process to ensure that your work in this sector moves forward smoothly and helps in advancing your interests.
To set up a personalized consultation with one of our attorneys, call (205) 964-9764 or reach us online.