City Purchasing Policy

City of Schenectady Purchasing Policies

In accordance with New York State Law


, the following individuals are responsible for
purchasing for the period of 1/1/2020 through 12/31/2021:

Gary McCarthy, Mayor of the City of Schenectady
Alex Sutherland, Director of Operations
John Coluccio, Signal Control Superintendent
Michael Eidens, Commissioner of Public Safety, when Acting Mayor
Eric Clifford, Chief of Police, when Acting Mayor
Anthony Ferrari, Commissioner of Finance & Administration
Richard McIlravy-Ackert, Purchasing Supervisor

These rules set forth in this policy are based on the requirements of Article 5-A Section 103 of
New York State General Municipal Law, the City of Schenectady Charter and the Schenectady
Code. In enacting and enforcing this Policy, the City of Schenectady hereby acknowledges and
agrees to follow all procedures proscribed and required by New York State.

Purchasing Requirements

1. Purchase of Equipment, Materials, Supplies, or Contracting for Public Works
Commodities are considered to be materials, supplies, and equipment, while Public Works are considered to be services, labor, or construction. If a contact involves other service and equipment, the total character of the contract should be determined based on the primary purpose of the purchase.


Purchases less than $3,500

Purchases less than $3,500 will be made at the discretion of the Mayor, the Purchasing
Supervisor, or the Mayor’s designee.

Purchases of $3,500 -$19,999 or Public Works Purchases of $3,500-$34,999

Departments send a request (requisition) to the Purchasing Supervisor. At a minimum, three written quotes from vendors must be solicited, and a purchase order is issued to the lowest responsible vendor.
Public Posting in Lieu of Quotes

If three verbal or written quotes cannot be obtained for purchases under the formal bid threshold,  but the purchase does not qualify as a sole source, the Purchasing Supervisor may ensure competitive procurement of the product by publically posting an online solicitation and then making the purchase from the lowest qualified quote.

Purchases $20,000 and above or Public Works Purchases $35,000 and above


Materials, supplies, and equipment purchases in aggregate of more than twenty thousand dollars per year, or public works contracts in aggregate of more than thirty-five thousand dollars per year must be competitively bid. The aforesaid amounts may be increased automatically as provided for in Article 5-A, section 103 of New York State General Municipal Law. The Supervisor of Purchasing works with the responsible department in developing bid specifications. Requests for bids are advertised in the legal advertising section of the City’s official newspaper designated by the City Council and are distributed online through a free public forum.


  There must be a minimum of the five days between the first day of bid publication and the public opening of bids by the Purchasing Supervisor.


  The Purchasing Supervisor and the department will review bid results to determine the award, which is made to the lowest responsible bidder after review and approval by the City Council.

 All change order requests and approvals must be made in writing and sent to the City Clerk within three (3) days of approval. The change order must describe in detail the purpose of said requested and approved change. Any requested change order or orders that cause an increase beyond a cumulative threshold of twenty-five percent (25%) greater than the amount of the contract which the City Council approved must be approved by a formal vote of the City Council.

2. Purchase of Services
Professional Services

The purchase of professional services is initiated by the department in need of services.


Consistent with State General Municipal Law, Article 5A, Section 104-B, professional services must be procured in a manner that assured the prudent and economical use of public monies in the best interest of the taxpayers. The selection method to be used may include (but is not limited to) the following request for proposals, request for qualifications, recruitment, or open acceptance of proposals. Professional services contracts awarded with State or federal funds must follow any bidding requirements set forth in State, federal or other applicable statutes and guidelines. Once the service provider is selected, the department should work with the City’s Law Department to prepare a contract, which must be approved by Corporation Counsel, the Purchasing Supervisor, the Commissioner of Finance & Administration, and the Mayor. 
At the first finance standing committee meeting of the month or as soon as reasonable thereafter, the Mayor or the Mayor’s appointed designee shall provide the committee with a list of professional service contracts into which the City entered in the preceding month.

Maintenance Agreements

Maintenance agreements for equipment are procured through the Purchasing Supervisor. The Purchasing Supervisor administers these contracts and must competitively acquire these services or provide sole source justification.

Equipment Leases/Rentals

Equipment leases and rental agreements must be approved by the Purchasing Supervisor and the Mayor.

Specialized Services

Other services unique to individual departments should be procured using the guidelines for purchases of materials, supplies, and equipment, based on the cost of the service.

Best Value


The City reserved the right to use “best value” as a basis for awarding contracts “to the offerer which optimizes quality, cost and efficiency, among responsiveand responsible offerers.”


In assessing best value, “factors including, but are not limited to, reliability of a product, efficiency of operation, difficulty/ease of maintenance, useful lifespan, ability to meet needs regarding timeliness of performance, and experience of a service provider with similar contracts” may be considered.


Whenever possible, the basis for a best value award must reflect objective and quantifiable analysis.

3. Public works construction contracts exceeding $250,000
Public works construction contracts exceeding $250,000 may only be awarded to contractors and subcontractors that have an approved apprenticeship program as provided for in Article 23 of the New York State Labor Law and meet applicable State Federal or City of Schenectady Minority and Women-Owned Business Utilization goals.[10]

4. Exceptions to Competitive Procurement Requirements

Existing State and City Contracts


Purchases of commodities and Public Work may be made under existing contracts with New York State maintained by the Office of General Services or other counties or cities within New York State. Other municipal contracts must have a provision extending their use to other local governments. When purchasing off of an existing contract the contract details must be documented on the purchasing record.

Emergency Procurement


In an emergency situation the Purchasing Supervisor or Commissioner level employee, even if they are not listed as purchasing officers in the beginning of this policy, has the authority to make expenditures below the legal competitive bid threshold ($20,000 for commodities and $35,000 for public works) without seeking quotes. The department head requesting the purchase must explain the emergency situation in writing, which can take place within a reasonable time after the authorization of the purchases or contract if circumstances do not allow it to take place before.


If the situation requires purchases or contract above the legal bid threshold, the Mayor must authorize the expenditure by stating the emergency situation in writing, which can take place within a reasonable time after the authorization of the purchases or contract if circumstances do not allow it to take place before.

Sole Source Procurement

A purchase may be exempt from competitive procurement if the Purchasing Supervisor makes a reasonable effort to determine that the item or service required is only available from one source. The Purchasing Supervisor must document the reason(s) for sole source procurement. If the procurement is above the legal competitive bid threshold it must be approved by the Mayor. Cooperatives & Piggyback contracts

In Lieu of obtaining written quotes for purchases of commodities up to $20,000; the Purchasing Supervisor is authorized to make such purchases using established national and regional cooperative purchasing contracts, including but not limited to, the contracts issues by the following entities: the US General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule 70 Information Technology, Minnesota Multistate Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy (MMCAP); US Communities Government Purchasing Cooperative, Western States Contacting Alliance (WSCA), National Joint Powers Alliance (NJPA), or the HGAC Buy Cooperative Purchasing Program.

Any other exception to New York State competitive procurement guidelines are authorized to be used by the City of Schenectady, with the approval of the Purchasing Supervisor.

5. Effect of this Policy
This policy shall apply from its date of approval and shall not apply retroactively.


[1] General Municipal Law §104-b(2)(f)

[2] See Office of the State Comptroller guidance document “Seeking Competition in Procurement.”

[3] General Municipal Law §103(1)

[4] General Municipal Law §103(2)

[5] General Municipal Law §103(2)

[6] According to OSC Guidance Document “Seeking Competition in Procurement” issued July 2014, Professional services are defined as “requiring specialized or technical skills, expertise or knowledge, the exercise of professional judgment, or a high degree of creativity.”

[7] Pursuant to Local Law 3 of 2015 amending Chapter 62 of the Administrative Code of the City of Schenectady to allow for best value purchasing

[8] See State Finance Law, section 163(1)(j). General Municipal Law, section 103(1) cross-references the definition of “best value”in State Finance Law, section 163.

[9]See OSC Guidance Document “Seeking Competition in Procurement” provides explanation and use of “best value” as envisioned in this policy

[10] See the City of Schenectady Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Plan

[11] General Municipal Law §104, §103(3)

[12] General Municipal Law §103(4)

[13] Emergency situations are defined as in General Municipal Law §103(4) as “a public emergency arising out of an accident or other unforeseen occurrence or condition whereby circumstances affecting public buildings, public property of the life, health, safety or property of the inhabitants of a political subdivision or district therein, require immediate action.”