Services (Other Than A/E Services)

The term ‘services’ as used here refers to all of the various types of personal services other than those as defined as A/E Services and other than those that are considered as public works or other than those which may require the payment of prevailing wages (see RCW 39.12.020). As an example of the many types of services referred to here are personal services such as (but not limited to) attorney services, appraisal services, physician services, as well as, many other services such as collection services, automotive repair services, polygraph services, security guard services and many others.

The authority of Spokane County to purchase personal services is found in Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 36.32.245(1) and 39.04.190, as well as, in County Code Chapter 1.04. These laws authorize two approaches to procuring personal services which may be broadly identified as: 

  1. A ‘formal’ process (more appropriately referred to as ‘formal, advertised, sealed competitive responses opened at a public bid opening or public meeting’); and
  2. An ‘informal’ process (more appropriately referred to as the uniform process).

The U.S. marketplace offers hundreds of thousands of varieties of products and services. At the highest level, state law breaks down this vast array of products and services into four broad classifications as: (a) Materials Supplies and Equipment (‘Goods’); (b) Public Works; (c) A/E Services; and (d) Services (i.e., all services other than A/E Services). U.S. industry and commerce uses various code systems to further subdivide these four broad classifications into distinct product and services classifications or categories. As an example only, two code systems generally accepted and used in industry and commerce are the Standard Industrial Classification (or SIC) and the North American Industry Classification System (or NAICS). 

The code system adapted and used by the Spokane County Purchasing Department is called the NIGP Code, which is also commonly used by many state and local governments in the U.S. The Spokane County Purchasing Department uses its adapted version of the NIGP Code to: (i) offer subscription services at the category level via this website to alert interested parties (subject to restrictions and limitations) whenever competitive solicitations are posted or changed; and (ii) classify at the item level its competitive solicitations.

The word ‘formal’ as used here refers to a competitive solicitation process for personal services* that meets and involves the criteria set forth for competitive bidding in RCW 36.32.245(1), including, but not necessarily limited to, the following: 

  1. The total dollar value of the procurement in U.S. currency is equal to, or greater than, the upper threshold as set forth in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 36.32.245(3), including all destination landing charges such as packing/crating, shipping/handling, transportation/freight and all applicable Washington State sales, or use, taxes; and
  2. Is advertisement for at least 13 days prior to the competitive solicitation due date (Bid Opening); and
  3. Requires that all responses/submittals are sealed and properly identified and addressed in an opaque package or envelope; and
  4. The competitive solicitation is subject to being publicly opened and read aloud on the appointed day and time (Public Bid Opening); and
  5. The competitive solicitation is subject to the provisions, terms, and conditions, contained or referenced in the particular competitive solicitation document for the procurement.

The criteria listed here is subject to change in the event that the Washington State Legislature amends RCW 36.32.235 or any other relevant and pertinent laws.

*FOOTNOTE: The RCW is silent with regard to the competitive procurement of personal services; however, Spokane County Code 1.04.080 states that for appointed department heads must work through the Purchasing Department in contracting for services and authority to enter into service contracts is contingent upon the prior completion of the steps outlined in the County Code; and that elected officials are mandated only to furnish the Purchasing Department a file copy of the contract to after it has executed. Finally, the County Code leaves it to the discretion of the County as to whether (or not) a competitive solicitation process is to be used in the procurement of personal services.