This document outlines the policies and procedures for appeals by applicants to Trust competitive procurement opportunities who feel they have been adversely affected by a procedural determination.
An applicant may appeal The Children’s Trust’s funding recommendations by utilizing the following guidelines. Please note, appeals are limited to procedural grounds.
• Request for Appeals: Whenever a formal competitive process is utilized, an applicant who is adversely affected by a procedural determination may file a Request for Appeal, in writing, within three (3) business days following the receipt of notice of its failure to advance to the next stage of review due to a fatal flaw, or within three (3) business days following receipt of the president/CEO’s written recommendations for funding to the board, whichever relevant event occurs first.
The Request for Appeals shall state the particular grounds upon which it is based and must include all pertinent documents and evidence to support the claim. All requests for appeal shall be directed to the president/CEO.
An appeal may only challenge a procedural matter related to the competitive procurement. An appeal may not challenge the relative weight of the evaluation criteria or the formula specified for, assigning points contained in the bid or other competitive solicitation release. An appeal is limited, for example, to challenging errors in mathematical calculations or omissions to score sections by the ranking team. No appeal may be filed after the board has approved the award.
Children’s Trust staff will carefully review all requests for appeals to determine if they meet the criteria outlined in this policy. Staff will provide to an applicant who files a Request for Appeal a written decision within three (3) business days of receipt of the Request for Appeal.
An applicant who submits a Request for Appeal challenging a procedural matter will be granted an appeal meeting with the president/CEO or his/her designee, which shall take place within 15 (fifteen) business days of receipt of the Request for Appeal. Within three (3) business days of the meeting, a written decision on the Request for Appeal will be provided to the applicant.
An applicant who submits a Request for Appeal that does not meet the criteria outlined in this policy will not be granted an appeal meeting but will be offered a Review Meeting as described in the Request for Review section below.
• Notice of Appeal and Hearing on Appeal: If the applicant disagrees with the decision of The Children’s Trust and desires further appellate review, within five (5) business days from receipt of the decision on the Request for Appeal, the applicant shall file a Notice of Appeal with the clerk of the board for The Children’s Trust.
The Notice of Appeal shall state the particular grounds on which it is based and shall include all pertinent documents and evidence. The Notice of Appeal is limited to the procedural issues raised, as well as the documents and evidence provided, in the Request for Review and the president/CEO’s or his/her designee’s initial review meeting.
Any applicant who files a Notice of Appeal under this subsection shall, at the time of filing with the clerk of the board, provide a cashier’s check made payable to The Children’s Trust in an amount equal to one percent (1%) of the proposed value of the proposal submitted or a minimum of eight thousand dollars ($8,000), whichever is greater. This cashier’s check shall be used and applied to the payment of all costs and charges related to the appeal, including, but not limited to court reporter fees (if any), copying and courier fees. No appeal shall be accepted unless it complies with all of the requirements of this section.
Appeals that comply with all requirements herein shall be referred to a hearing examiner. Hearing examiners shall be selected from a panel of retired judges who have served five (5) years or more as county or circuit court judges of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida. Alternatively, if no judges are available to serve at the hearing, a Florida Bar-certified mediator may serve as hearing examiner. The appellant/applicant is responsible for payment of all hearing examiner or certified mediator fees and costs, including any advance payment requested by the hearing examiner or certified mediator. The hearing examiner shall conduct a hearing on the appeal on the date mutually agreed upon by The Children’s Trust and the appellant/applicant.
The hearing shall be electronically recorded. The hearing examiner shall consider the written appeal; supporting documents; evidence appended thereto; the president/CEO’s recommendation; and all evidence presented at the initial appeal review. The hearing examiner shall allow a maximum of one (1) hour for the appellant/applicant‘s presentation and a maximum of one (1) hour for The Children’s Trust’s response to the appeal. The hearing examiner shall be entitled to rely on evidence of a type commonly relied upon by reasonably prudent persons in the conduct of their affairs. Within four (4) business days of hearing the appeal, the hearing examiner shall file written findings and recommendations with the clerk of the board.
The hearing examiner’s findings and recommendation shall be presented to the board together with the written decision by the president/CEO or his/her designee following the initial review meeting. The matter shall be resolved by the board on the basis of the record before the hearing examiner and no evidence, issue, or speaker, which was not heard or raised at such hearing, shall be permitted or considered. Presentations to the board shall be limited to five (5) minutes per side. The foregoing time limitation shall be inclusive of all permitted speakers addressing the board on behalf of each side.
If the hearing examiner concurs with the recommendation of the president/CEO or his/her designee, a twothirds (2/3) vote of the board shall be required to take action other than the agreed recommended action. If the hearing examiner does not concur with the recommendation of the president/CEO or his/her designee, a simple majority vote of the board shall be required to take action other than the hearing examiner’s recommended action.
Costs of the appeal, including full payment of the hearing examiner’s fee or mediator’s fee, shall be assessed against the funds from the cashier’s check paid by the appellant/applicant at the time the written appeal is filed.
After completion of the hearing process, if The Children’s Trust prevails, then The Children’s Trust shall be entitled to recover all actual costs and charges associated with the appeal including, which shall not include time spent on the appeal by staff of The Children’s Trust. If any funds remain from the cashier’s check after paying all costs, fees and charges associated with the appeal, then those remaining funds shall be returned to the applicant/appellant.
Upon completion of the hearing process if the applicant prevails, the filing fees will be reimbursed.
• Request for Review: An applicant may also request a review to understand the reasons for the decision other than those that are on procedural grounds. Children’s Trust staff will offer a frank analysis to help improve further funding applications. To request a review the applicant will send a formal request to meet with appropriate Children’s Trust staff. A request for review is not equivalent to a Request for Appeal or Notice of Appeal.