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Procurement Ethics and Professional Standards

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The City of Santa Clara procurement standards are to ensure the proper expenditure of the City’s financial resources.  Ethical behavior and integrity are the fundamental tenants of the public procurement profession that derive form values such as “competition”, equal treatment” and access” and “transparency”. 


Public procurement professionals are the gatekeepers for the proper expenditure of the City’s limited financial resources. They are entrusted to uphold the highest ethical standards and be good stewards of public funds with every purchasing decision they make. Ethical behavior and integrity are fundamental tenets of the public procurement profession that derive from values like “Competition,” “Equal Treatment & Access,” and “Transparency.”

The Purchasing Division resolves to conduct all transactions under the umbrella of the following values:

  • Regard public service as a sacred trust, giving primary consideration to the interests of the public agency that employs us. 
  • Avoid unfair practices and give all qualified vendors an equal opportunity to do business with the City of Santa Clara. 
  • Honor Procurement’s obligations and require that obligations to the public agency be honored. 
  • Refuse to accept any form of commercial bribery and prevent any appearance of so doing.
  • Receive counsel from colleagues and cooperate with them to promote a spirit of teamwork and unity. 
  • Behave with fairness and dignity, and demand honesty and truth in the purchasing process.
  • Strive for greater knowledge of procurement methods and the materials and services purchased.
    Purchase without prejudice, stimulate competition on all procurements, and seek to obtain the maximum value for each dollar spent.
  • Maintain competitive bidding procedures as the primary, preferred, method of procurement.
  • Develop materials standards that afford a wide area of competitive bidding consistent with required levels of quality.
  • Maintain open, public records of firms solicited, and all prices quoted and paid for items obtained for City use. 
  • Furnish clear indications of quality and service required in all bid solicitations.
  • Cooperate with all organizations and individuals involved in activities designed to enhance the development of the procurement profession, remembering that our actions reflect on the entire profession. 


2.1 The City has a Code of Ethics and Values for elected and appointed officials, City employees, volunteers and others that participate in the City’s government. 

2.2 The City also has adapted ethical standards for contractors seeking to enter into an agreement with the City of Santa Clara. 

2.3 In addition, the City has adapted ethical standards that are specific to the procurement function, and anyone conducting or participating in a procurement transaction on behalf of the City. The following ethics statements are applicable to all city employees who participate in the procurement process: 

2.3.1 City employees shall not obligate the City of Santa Clara, financially or otherwise, by any means, including but not limited to purchase orders and contracts, when the employee has a personal, material, financial, or other interest in the obligation. 

2.3.2 Employees are prohibited from directly or indirectly soliciting or accepting any rebate, kickback, gift, gratuity, or favor for personal gain from any individual, corporation, or group. 

2.3.3 City employees shall not accept any form of gratuities, with the exception of non-consumable marketing or promotional mementos valued at $20 or less which may be accepted (i.e., pens, paper clip holders, pencils, cups, etc.). Please reference City Manager Directive (CMD) 67 for the City’s Gifts and Favors to Individuals Policy.  

2.3.4 City employees, when purchasing an item(s) for personal use, must avoid the appearance of City representation. The employee shall pay all such purchases with his or her personal funds. When personal purchases are made under these circumstances, separate invoices or sales receipts must be issued by the supplier. Such invoices must bear the employee's name, home address, and phone number and may not be delivered to the City. Employees may not solicit, or accept, discounts, reduced prices, or other benefits from suppliers because of employees’ position with the City.

2.3.5 The City’s Process Integrity Guidelines addresses protocols for Communications, Confidentiality, and Conflict of Interest between City Staff, elected officials, and prospective vendors, before, during and after a competitive solicitation. 

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