Skip to main content
Most King County offices will be closed on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 23-24, 2017, for the Thanksgiving holiday.  
King County logo

Document Code No.: CON-7-2-4-EP
Affected Agencies: All King County Executive Departments, Offices, and Agencies
Sponsoring Agency: DES / FBOD / Procurement and Payables Section
Effective Date: September 29, 2016
Expiration Date: September 29, 2021
Type of Action: Supersedes CON 7-2-3 (AEP)

 Signed document (PDF, 244KB)


I. Purpose

This policy is to exempt certain categories of purchases from King County standard procurement requirements.  This policy does not apply to construction, engineering, architectural, or professional services.

II. Applicability and Audience

This policy applies to all King County offices, departments, divisions, and agencies.

III. Definitions

“Agency” means any King County executive department, office, and agency.

"Authorized Personnel" means those employees given signature authority for certification of payments by the respective elected official, department director, agency head or division manager.

"BDCC" means the Business Development and Contract Compliance Unit of the Finance and Business Operations Division (FBOD).

"Contract" means a mutually binding legal relationship or any modification thereof obligating a person, firm, corporation, partnership or group to provide tangible personal property or tangible goods and/or services to the County, and governmental agency, which therefore obligates payment by the County.

"Direct Buy" means a total purchase of $10,000 or less of goods and/or services.  Purchases shall not be artificially divided so as to constitute a direct buy.

"Exemption" means those purchases exempt from public procurement requirements of County.

"Grant Funds" means any money, or property in lieu of money, paid or furnished by Federal, State, or local government or by foundations or corporations under programs that provide financial assistance through grant or contractual agreement.

"Certified Firm" means a business that has applied for participation in King County's Contracting Opportunities Program, and has been certified as a Small Contractor or Supplier by the King County BDCC office.

"Directory of Certified Small Contractors and Suppliers" means the directory of businesses certified by King County as meeting the eligibility criteria for participation in King County's Contracting Opportunities Program.

“POETA” means the financial transaction coding used for expenditure transactions consisting of Project number, Organization, Expenditure type, Task number, and Award Number.

"Purchase Order" means a document authorizing the purchase of goods and/or services from a specified supplier.

"P-Card" means a credit card issued by King County for the business transactions allowed under the P-Card program.

IV. Policy

1. It is the County's policy to purchase goods and services in a manner that complies with State law, King County Code, and all applicable ordinances and directives including applicable federal requirements.
2. It is the policy of the County that recycled/recyclable products shall be procured and used by all offices, divisions, departments, and agencies wherever practicable.
3. All exempt purchases must be paid pursuant to Executive Policy FIN 10-1-1 (AP), Cash Disbursements and Accounts Payable Payment Processing. An exemption from procurement requirements under this policy is not an exemption from standard payment processes.
4. The following categories of purchases are exempt from the procurement requirements of King County and may be purchased by a designated King County employee who is currently authorized by their Department Director.

a. Direct buys totaling less than $10,000 as a total cost.
b. Purchases where the County's liability is cited in law, County contract/agreement, court order or Council motion with either (a) terms or payee specified by same, or (b) if either or both are not specified, their determination is not subject to the control of the Chief Procurement Officer. Such purchases include, but are not limited to:

i. Housing and Community Development trust funds disbursed on behalf of homeowner in accordance with grant terms.
ii. Public Safety towing and storage charges paid under the official County impoundment ordinance.
iii. Medical services/goods covered by Worker's Compensation law (RCW 51.36), LEOFF 1 and 2 (RCW 41.26).
iv. Witness travel and living costs for Prosecuting Attorney (RCW 2.40.010 -.030).
v. Court reporter service and transcription fees (RCW 2.32.210 - 240).
vi. Payments for the Prosecuting Attorney's conduct of defense in County litigation (RCW 36.27.020).
vii. Travel and living expense of employees and non-employees per official policy and law (RCW 42.24).
viii. Office of Emergency Management grant funds dispersed to cities, counties, fire and emergency response agencies, special purpose districts or other such political subdivisions in order to perform regional Homeland Security requirements.

c. Purchases of a nature which do not lend themselves to the competitive procurement process including, but not limited to:

i. Utility billings, such as water, electricity, telephone (only local services and SCAN).
ii. Postage, shipping charges, permits, fees, tolls and licenses.
iii. Foster care, training and professional services for the physical or mental care of persons in the custody or care of a King County agency.
iv. Registration/tuition for standardized training classes or seminars.
v. Memberships and contributions.
vi. Services of "assigned counsel" for the Office of Public Defense, appointed under authority of Superior and District Courts.
vii. Real property option payments, earnest money, purchases and related costs administered by the Facilities Management Division or those administered by the Department of Natural Resources and Parks for the Water Pollution Control Division or those administered by the Transit Division for itself.
viii. Right-of-way purchases by the Department of Transportation.
ix. Publications and subscriptions such as periodicals and newspapers.
x. Allowance or employer reimbursement payments made to non-employees under on-the-job training contracts.
xi. Parks Division payment to exhibitors/entertainers at County sponsored events.
xii. Veterinary costs for dogs performing service work for the County.
xiii. Child care payments (e.g. clothes, rent) under Employment and Education Resources Program "Support Services Purchase Approved Letter" [Private Industry Council (PIC)/Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) Directive #4, 5].
xiv. Juvenile Division purchases for clothing and related items for persons in probation status.

5. Agency/Department Procedures

a. Determines the need for goods and/or services which qualify under the "Exemptions to Procurement Requirement."
b. Check for an applicable existing contract. The contract should be used unless the agreement cannot provide the goods or services required.
c. Determine if the provision of a good or service involves risk to the County. If so, require that the supplier provide appropriate insurance coverage. (Questions about insurance should be directed to the Office of Risk Management.)
d. Seek the names of certified firms, to the extent available, from the County's Directory of Small Contractors and Suppliers in the solicitation for procurement of goods and services.
e. For purchasing procedures, see CON 7-5, Requisitioning for Procurement Process.

6. Responsibilities

a. Each department, agency, office and division shall be responsible for assuring that adequate funds are available to cover the costs of all purchases.
b. The Procurement and Payables Section is responsible for maintaining and making available the following information for departments, agencies, offices and division.

i. Lists of suppliers with contracts for goods and services.
ii. Payment of all approved purchases.

c. Managers certifying payments are responsible for ensuring that these procedures are followed.

i. Items may not be purchased in excess of established limits.
ii. Invoices may not be split to make it appear a purchase is within established limits.
iii. Goods and services used throughout the year may not be purchased on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to avoid proper procurement processes.
iv. Goods and services may not be purchased from suppliers who are disqualified, debarred or suspended from contracting with the County.
v. Make a best effort to procure recycled/recyclable products.
vi. Initiate payment process to avoid late payment fee.
vii. Procurement and Payables will review requests for exempt purchases from agencies to ensure compliance with this policy.

V. Implementation Plan

A. This policy becomes effective for all King County Executive Departments, Offices, and Agencies on the date that it is signed by the Executive. The Department of Executive Services is responsible for implementation of this policy.

B. DES/FBOD/Procurement and Payables Section is responsible for communicating this policy to the management structure within their respective agencies and other appropriate parties.

VI. Maintenance

A. This policy will be maintained by the DES/FBOD/Procurement and Payables Section or its successor agency.

B. This policy will automatically expire five (5) years after its effective date. A new,  revised, or renewed policy will be initiated by Procurement and Payables, or its successor agency prior to the expiration date.

VII. Consequences for Noncompliance

Affected Agencies in noncompliance with this policy shall submit a letter of justification and remediation plan signed by the Department Director or designee to the Chief Procurement Officer for review and action.

Continuing noncompliance may subject the King County employee violating the policy to the disciplinary process set forth in the King County Personnel Guidelines section 16 and the provisions of King County Code 3.12.270.

Appendices:       Exemption memo