QRF: This Long-Time Purchasing Program is Still Around and Still Mandatory

Ross Williamson

From our December 2015 e-newsletter

This article discusses the mandatory public contracting program known as the Qualified Rehabilitation Facility program or “QRF.”

Although this program has been in existence since 1977, it is time to get reacquainted. The program is most notably known as the way to obtain janitorial services, but it is actually much broader. The program has been in existence for so long that it is time for a reintroduction so that we all do not forget it is still alive and kicking.

The statutory authority for this program lives in ORS 279.835 – 279.855. The QRF program came to life in legislation adopted by the 1977 Oregon Legislature. The purpose of the program is “to encourage and assist individuals with disabilities to achieve maximum personal independence through useful and productive gainful employment by assuring an expanded and constant market for sheltered workshop and activity center products and services….” (ORS 279.840.)

The QRF program is mandatory. State and local government agencies are required to purchase QRF products and services, so long as the product or service meets the purchaser’s requirements. Purchases made through the QRF program do not go through a competitive solicitation process under ORS Chapter 279B. As a result, contracting agencies negotiate directly with the QRF service provider without a competitive bidding process.

QRF providers are nonprofits that provide vocational services for persons with disabilities. The Oregon Department of Administrative Services (“DAS”) is charged with running the QRF program and has adopted administrative rules applicable to the program.

DAS helps in the selection process by maintaining a “procurement list” of products and services available for contracting agencies. Services are generally provided on a county-wide basis, while QRF products are generally available statewide. To be on the procurement list, the QRF provider must demonstrate the capacity to perform the service or provide the product at an industry standard.

The services available from QRF providers are generally custodial or janitorial services, including grounds maintenance, but also include other things like food services and recycling services. If you are in the market for these types of services or products, the first step is to visit the on-line product list and see if a QRF is available in your area. The product list is available here: http://dasapp.oregon.gov/qrf/index.aspx

If no source is located on the procurement list for your specific needs, you are excused from the QRF requirements and should proceed with a standard ORS Chapter 279B procurement process.

If you do see your product or service on the procurement list, contact DAS to see if it has a price agreement with the particular provider. If you are purchasing a product or service from a QRF and DAS does not have an established contract for that product or service you may work directly with the QRF to negotiate your own contract. But note, DAS must approve the contract price before starting the work.

The QRF program connects service providers with local governments. The program serves an important role in providing job skill and job training to Oregonians. It is also mandatory; so now is a good time to reacquaint yourself with this unique public contracting requirement.

More information, including DAS staff contacts, is available here:  http://www.oregon.gov/DAS/EGS/ps/Pages/QRF%20Menu.aspx


2016 Public Contracting Rules Update

Carrie Connelly

From our December 2015 e-newsletter

As you are aware, ORS Chapters 279A, 279B and 279C (the “Public Contracting Code” or “Code”) has been in place since March 1, 2005. Since that date, the legislature has amended some aspect of the Code nearly every session. The 2015 legislature’s changes went into effect on September 21, 2015, and January 1, 2016. By statute (ORS 279A.065(5)(b)), each public contracting agency must review its rules once new AG rules take effect, to ensure statutory compliance. I have reviewed the AG’s new rules and prepared the necessary updates to replace any rules your entity may have adopted since 2005.

The most significant updates in our 2016 rules reflect changes in anti-discrimination laws, tax law compliance certifications, and “determination of responsibility” findings. Further, you may not have amended your rules yet to reflect the 2013 increase in the small procurement threshold for goods and services, from $5,000 to $10,000 and the requirement to follow the Attorney General’s Model Rules for Construction Manager/General Contractor (CM/GC) contracts.

I understand that the frequency of these regular updates may be frustrating, but we consider it our duty to continue making our update service available to you. By presenting the changes in a flat fee packet, our goal is to limit your costs while ensuring a legally sufficient product.

Our packet includes a letter explaining the changes and applicable adoption process, the updated rules, notice, and an amending resolution. If you purchased our 2012 packet, the most recent update can be purchased for $150. For those of you who have our rules in place, but have not updated within the past four years, the flat fee is $400. If you have not previously purchased our rules, the entire packet can be purchased for $650.

Please call or contact Carrie, at the Local Government Law Group with any questions you may have. If your entity chooses to purchase a 2016 rule update, let us know how you wish to receive the updates (e.g., hard copy, electronically, or both). In addition, please let us know which prior version of our rules you purchased. We look forward to hearing from you.