Work Centers Rules & Regulations


SUMMARY: This section outlines the procedures and criteria used by the Work Center Purchases Committee to qualify Work Centers and establish a product schedule pursuant to 5 MRSA 1826-A,B,C,D.

Section 1. Definitions

  • Persons with disabilities: "Persons with disabilities" means individuals who have a physical or mental impairments that substantially limit one or more major life activities, have a record of those impairments or are perceived to have those impairments.
  • Work center: "Work center" means a program that provides vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities to enable those individuals to maximize their opportunities for employment, including career advancement.
  • Committee: "Committee", unless otherwise specified shall refer to the Work Center Purchases Committee.

Section 2. Qualification Procedures

  1. Work Center Qualification
    1. Work Center must meet all criteria of committee. To be qualified as a work center under the provisions of Maine Public Law Chapter 359, the following requirements must be met:
      1. [1999, c. 543, §1 (RP) .]
      2. The work center must comply with the provisions of Federal and State occupational health and safety laws.
      3. At least 66% of the total hours of direct labor on all production work and services work that is used to train or employ persons with disabilities must be provided by persons with disabilities employed by the work center.
      4. The work center has, or is part of, an ongoing placement program which includes:
        1. Pre-admission evaluation and annual review of each worker's capability for competitive employment; and
        2. Maintenance of liaison with the appropriate community job placement services.
    2. Work Centers must apply for qualification on an application furnished by the Committee. This application shall include a self-declaration that the above-cited conditions are met. This application must be signed by a Work Center official who is legally authorized to represent the Work Center's Board of Directors. If the Committee requires confirmation of a Work Center's compliance with these conditions, copies of the following documents will be made available to the Committee:
      1. A current Regular Work Program or Work Activities Center Sub-minimum Wage Certificate issued to the work center by the United States Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division.
      2. The following reports and plans:
        1. Health and safety inspection reports.
        2. Reports documenting corrective action resulting from health and safety inspections.
        3. Written plans for fire and other emergency procedures.
        4. Vehicle inspection reports, where applicable.
        5. Records of test and emergency procedures.
        6. Current vehicles operator licensure.
      3. Payroll and production records adequate for determining the proportion of direct production labor provided by persons with disabilities/persons with non-disabilities during the current fiscal year.
      4. The following worker's assessment data:
        1. An assessment of each worker's vocational strengths, weaknesses, and capacity for competitive employment.
        2. A review of each worker's vocational strengths, weaknesses, and capacity for competitive employment completed during the previous 12-month period.
    3. The Committee must be notified of any changes in status that affects a work center's eligibility.
    4. Applications must be completed annually.
    5. Any Work Center failing to comply with any of the qualifying criteria will not be eligible to bid on products and services on the Work Center Purchases Schedule.

Section 3. Work Center Schedule

  1. Identify Products and Services - The Committee shall prepare and maintain a list of all products and services used in state government from the commodity lists established in the Division of Purchases.
  2. Develop Work Centers List
    1. The Committee shall prepare and maintain a qualified list of Work Centers under Section 1 of these rules.
    2. The Committee shall upgrade this list annually.
  3. Establish Work Center Schedule
    1. The Committee shall develop a list of products Work Centers are capable of providing, considering:
      1. Work centers ability to meet quality standards.
      2. Work centers ability to obtain necessary equipment, training and raw materials.
      3. Work centers ability to obtain technical assistance.
    2. The Committee shall combine the list of products in C-1 with the qualified work center list established in B-1 to form the Work Center Purchases Schedule.

Section 4. Competitive Bidding and Contract Awards

  1. Competitive Bidding
    1. Only qualified work centers will be eligible to bid on products and services identified on the Work Center Purchases Schedule.
    2. All bids will be processed using the procedures followed by the Division of Purchases and outlined in the Manual of Financial Procedures Section 16.
    3. Any products or services on the schedule for which no bids are received from Work Centers shall be put out to general bid by the Director of the Division of Purchases.

    If only one Work Center bid is received, the Committee shall review the bid and make a determination regarding the fairness of the price and terms of the proposed contract. If the Committee determines that the Work Center should not be awarded this bid, the product or service shall be put out to general bid by the Director of the Division of Purchases.
  2. Contract Awards
    1. The Committee shall have final determination in awarding contracts to Work Centers through the competitive bidding process following the Division of Purchases Manual of Financial Procedures, Section 16
      1. The Committee will determine that the price and contract terms are fair and reasonable both to the Work Center and to the State.
      2. The Committee will ensure the ability of the Work Center to recover the costs of labor, material, equipment, overhead and delivery.
      3. All contracts are subject to the terms and conditions of the Purchase Order or contract form used by the Division of Purchases.
    2. The Committee will ensure that contracts awarded to Work Centers are not assigned to any other vendor, except as necessary:
      1. The Director of the Division of Purchases, upon notification from any contracting agency or Work Center will investigate complaints to the Committee.
      2. No contract will be reassigned, except as necessary to complete the contract, because of extraordinary events beyond the control of the Work Center.
      3. Additional costs incurred because of any reassignment shall be borne by the Work Center as a normal cost of doing business.

Section 5. Conflict of Interest

  1. Any Committee member having an actual or potential conflict of interest with respect to any contract under consideration by the Committee must abstain from taking any action on that contract in his capacity as a Committee member in accordance with the same provisions that apply to executive employees as described in Title 5 Section 18.
  2. The Committee will investigate all complaints or protest regarding conflicts of interest.
    1. Complaints or protests may be submitted by any Work Center or individual Committee member.
    2. Complaints or protests must be submitted in letter form to the Committee and must include all necessary information for an investigation.
    3. No action will continue on a contract until a final decision has been given regarding any complaint or protest of conflicts of interest pertaining to that contract.
    4. The Work Center or Committee member filing any complaint or protest will be notified by letter of the Committee's decision.

Section 6 . Review and Appeals

  1. Any Work Center may request a review of any decision of the Committee. All requests for review must be in letter form to the Work Center Purchases Committee, and must be received by the Committee no later than seven calendar days from the date of the decision.
    1. The Committee will investigate all Work Center reviews.
    2. The Committee may request additional information from any of the parties involved in the review.
    3. The Committee will issue a written decision to the Work Center requesting the review and all parties involved.
  2. Any Work Center may appeal the written decision of the Committee. This appeal must be in writing to the Committee, as established by 5 MRSA 1814, no later than seven calendar days from receipt of the written decision. The Committee's decision on appeal is final.