Illinois Department of Transportation, Ann L. Schneider, Secretary
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Procurement Communications

ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS BY VENDORS
PROCUREMENT COMMUNICATIONS REPORTING
PER SENATE BILL 51


Q1: Who decides if a communication needs to be reported to the Procurement Policy Board?

A1: The statute contains language that establishes the criteria of what communications need to be reported, however, it is the ethical responsibility of the State employee involved in the communication to determine if the communication meets that criteria and must therefore be reported.

Q2: As a vendor, do I have to submit any report to the Procurement Policy board when a communication I have had with an IDOT employee has been determined to be reportable?

A2: Generally you will not have to make any report. It is the IDOT employee’s responsibility to write and file the report. However, if a person required to file with the secretary of State under the Lobbyist Registration Act is a party to an oral communication, the IDOT employee will instruct all parties of the communication to prepare a written report of the communication and submit that report to the IDOT employee.

Q3: What types of communications need to be reported?

A3: The statute covers all types of communications, including but not limited to, face to face discussions, group meetings, letters, reports, emails, teleconferences, and telephonic. However, the communication must be material and must concern a request or argument about a pending or potential procurement of IDOT.

Q4: What is considered material?

A4: A material communication is one that goes to the substance of the procurement. It could be a question of the validity of the quantities listed on a procurement solicitation or the type of material specified. Questions about the process or procedures for participating in competing for a procurement such as what forms are needed to be filled out or the deadline for the submission of bids are not considered material.

Q5: If I notice what I consider to be an error or omission on an IDOT solicitation, may I contact someone at IDOT to get a clarification before I submit my firm’s response to that procurement?

A5: You may do this, however, that communication is considered to be a material argument and will be reported by the IDOT employee that you communicate with on that subject.

Q6: May I inquire how to initiate business with IDOT and introduce my firm to IDOT personnel?

A6: Of course you can do that. The information concerning how to do business with IDOT would be communications about process and procedures and would not be reportable by the IDOT employee. Introducing your firm to IDOT employees may require IDOT employees to file a report depending upon what you present and what is discussed.

Q7: May I contact IDOT employees about new products or services that my firm has developed?

A7: Yes you may, however this communication will be reportable under the statute.

Q8: If an IDOT employee calls me to request information about my firms products or services can I return that call with the requested information?

A8: Yes. It is one of the exceptions listed in the statute that allows a communication that the IDOT employee does not have to report.

Q9: If I have a construction contract with IDOT and I determine that I need to request a change in the scope of the work due to previously unforeseen circumstances, how should I communicate that to IDOT?

A9: You should continue to request changes of this nature as you have in the past. The statute requires that these communications be reported and it is the responsibility of the IDOT employee to make that report.

Q10: Does it make any difference if I put information about my firm’s capabilities and desire to work with IDOT in a letter as opposed to a personal visit?

A10: It makes no difference. The statute covers both written and verbal communications.

Q11: May I invite IDOT employees to a presentation of my firm’s products or services where other state agencies and/or private citizens are in attendance?

A11: Yes you can do this and since you are making public statements about your firm in a public forum, such a communication is not reportable under the statute.

Q12: What is the purpose of these written reports that IDOT employees will be filing with the Procurement Policy Board?

A12: The purpose of this section of the legislation is to be more transparent in dealings between state employees and those in the private sector that are attempting to do business with the state. A material communication that concerns the substance of a procurement or a potential procurement must be reported. These reports will be listed on the Procurement policy Board website for the public to review. They will very clearly inform the public about the details of these communications that involve the expenditure of public funds.

Q13: Is it permissible for a vendor to initiate a written communication to an IDOT employee regarding a procurement matter? Basically an unsolicited letter or e-mail that further clarifies a potential vendor's qualifications? Would this need to be reported and by whom?

A13: It is permissible for a vendor to contact an IDOT employee about a procurement matter, however this would probably cause the IDOT employee to have to file a report with the PPB. If the communication was an unsolicited letter or email to further clarify the qualifications of the potential vendor it would cause the IDOT employee to file a report with the PPB. The vendor does not have to ever file a report except the one situation where a lobbyist is present during a reportable oral communication. In that case the IDOT employee must file a report with the PPB and instruct all other participants, vendor and lobbyist, to make a written report of the communication and send it to the IDOT employee. The IDOT employee will then be responsible to forward those reports on to the PPB. This is a function of the system being designed by CMS.

Q14: Is there a dollar limit on the requirements for reporting communications with vendors or potential vendors, such as $1000, $5000, $10,000, etc.?

A14: Not at this time. If a communication fits the requirements to be reported it must be reported regardless of the amount of money involved.
 


 

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