- Should Griffin & Davis have been counted as a DBE in the Lift Station RFP? Yes. Griffin & Davis was at the time of submission and continues to be a certified DBE with GDOT. Their certification can be verified by visiting GDOT’s DBE Directory linked below.
- Why is G&D not listed on the City’s LDBE list? Only DBE firms that have been confirmed as local (see Local Vendor definition below) are included in the LDBE list. There are thousands of DBEs statewide and throughout the country that are not on our LDBE list because they do not meet the definition below. As of last Thursday, G&D did not have a current business tax certificate, so they would not be considered local. My understanding is that they were able to renew their certificate on Friday, so we will now have to determine whether they meet the other requirements before adding them to the list.
Local vendor – A bidder or business shall be considered a local vendor if it meets all of the following requirements:
- The bidder or business must operate and maintain a headquarters, distribution point, division, office, or locally-owned franchise with a physical address within the corporate limits of the city, and
- The bidder or business must, at the time of bid, proposal, or quotation submission, have a current city business tax certificate issued by the city for at least one year prior to the issuance of the requested competitive quote, bid, or proposal by the city (a post office box or temporary office shall not be considered a place of business);
- The business owner must serve a commercially useful function, meaning performance of real and actual service in the discharge of any contractual endeavor. The contractor/vendor must perform a distinct element of work for which the business owner has the skills, qualifications and expertise, as well as the responsibility for the actual performance, management and supervision of the work for which he/she has been contracted to perform.
- There was concern about allowing G&D to participate on the project when they did not appear to be local. This seems to be the key point of confusion. This RFP never had a local DBE goal, because Council only added the concept of a local DBE goal after this event closed and proposals were submitted. The Lift Station RFP closed on September 4, 2018, prior to Council’s action, on September 13, 2018 (agenda writeup), adding local requirements to portions of DBE goals. In fact, goals on this event were set back in June of 2018, well in advance of any changes to the program. In short, subcontractors like Griffin & Davis were not required to be local at the time that goals were set or proposals were submitted.
- There was also concern about allowing shared work spaces to satisfy the physical address requirement. Shared or co-working spaces are becoming increasingly popular, particularly for small, less-established companies. I am concerned that not allowing these types of inexpensive solutions would have the unintended consequence of keeping out the same small businesses we are trying to help.
- There was a concern about multiple City vendors being in the same building. This is extremely common in modern day office buildings and can actually be a great reason for small businesses to relocate to a shared office. The ability for less-established companies to network with other firms, is absolutely critical for partnerships to develop and help smaller firms grow. These partnerships are precisely the kinds of connections a program like ours tries to foster.
- Does the Economic Development Department do a site visit of all DBEs? Our department does a site visit for all of our locally certified M/WBEs. That was a part of our previous program and will continue now that it has been re-instated. Regarding the DBE certification, that is done by GDOT and they do a site visit as part of their certification process. However, please note that they typically visit the business’ headquarters, not every location. Since G&D was certified as a DBE, we are not responsible for their certification or site visit. Having said that, I am recommending that we do our own visit to the Savannah location before adding them to our LDBE list. This is one place where Council may want to consider amending or providing further guidance on the Local Vendor definition above. I hate to speak for Purchasing, but I am sure they would be happy to receive feedback on ways to strengthen that portion of the Purchasing Ordinance to be more in line with this Council’s understanding of what it means to be local.