The Attorney General's Office (AGO) plays a unique role in the enforcement of the public bidding laws. Since 1993, with the transfer of enforcement of some of the public bidding laws from the former Department of Labor and Industries to the AGO, the AGO's Bid Unit has been investigating allegations of violations and rendering decisions regarding its findings.
The AGO's Bid Unit has the specific jurisdiction to enforce the following public bidding laws (the "Bid Laws"):
- M.G.L. c. 30, § 39M -- Public works construction (horizontal construction, such as, bridges, roads, sewer lines)
- M.G.L. c. 7, § 38A ½ et seq. - Designer selection (selection of the engineer or architect on a public building contract)
- M.G.L. c. 149, § 44A-H -- Public building construction (vertical construction, such as, schools, libraries)
- M.G.L. c. 149A - Alternative delivery methods (Construction manager at risk - vertical construction, design build - horizontal construction)
- M.G.L. c. 149, § 44D -- DCAM decertification and denial of certification by DCAM (appeals by contractors challenging decertification or denial of certification by DCAM)
Massachusetts courts have found that the purposes of the Bid Laws are to:
- obtain the lowest cost that fair competition can achieve to protect and preserve taxpayers dollars;
- protect the integrity of the bidding process;
- prevent favoritism; and
- maintain a level playing field for all bidders.
See, for instance, Interstate Engineering Corp. v. City of Fitchburg, 367 Mass. 751 (1975) and Department of Labor and Industries v. Boston Water and Sewer Commission, 18 Mass. App. Ct. 621 (1984).
NOTE: The AGO's Bid Unit does not have jurisdiction to resolve disputes regarding contract compliance. In addition, the Inspector General, not the AGO, enforces M.G.L. c. 30B, which concerns the procurement of goods and service by certain public awarding authorities.