AG’s Office Issues Report Following Investigation into Nantucket Memorial Airport Commission
Investigation by AG’s Office Reveals Significant Deficiencies In Commission’s Bid Process, Steps Taken by the Town of Nantucket to Improve Procurement and Contracting Practices by Commission
BOSTON – Following an extensive investigation into the procurement practices of the Nantucket Memorial Airport Commission (Airport Commission), the Attorney General’s Office has issued a report detailing numerous deficiencies in the commission’s construction bidding practices, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
The report, issued by the Bid Unit of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division, details its findings and recommendations as well as the efforts currently underway by the Town of Nantucket (“Town”) to improve practices of the Airport Commission.
In connection with its investigation regarding the Airport Commission, which began in the late spring of 2011, the Attorney General’s Office provided its preliminary findings to the Town of Nantucket in September 2011. Thereafter, the Town implemented an a variety of safeguards on procurement by the Airport Commission and undertook its own, broader review of various issues with the operations at the Airport, including an independent audit.
Among the deficiencies identified in the AG’s report are:
- practices bearing the appearance of bid splitting;
- failure to comply with certain obligations under the prevailing wage laws;
- failure to obtain written contracts for services to be performed;
- inaccurate references to procurement law exemptions to avoid proper bidding; and
- a basic failure to understand that proper procurement practices are applicable to the expenditure of so called enterprise funds as they are to most taxpayer funded contracts.
The Attorney General’s Office recognizes the significant cooperation received from the Town Manager, Chief Procurement Officer, and town counsel of Nantucket throughout this process and acknowledges the multiple measures undertaken by Nantucket to correct the deficiencies of practice. To ensure that the public construction procurement compliance at the airport has been fully achieved, the Attorney General’s Office will continue to monitor such procurement on a quarterly basis beginning in September 2012.
The AG’s Bid Unit is responsible for investigating and enforcing the competitive bidding laws that govern contracts for public works and public building construction in Massachusetts. Its investigations primarily involve investigatory hearings, held to investigate allegations of bid violations, and result in the issuance of findings by the Bid Unit in what is called a “Bid Protest Decision.” In addition, the Bid Unit also conducts independent investigations, as it did in this matter. The Bid Unit assists the resolution of potential bid protests when possible by contacting awarding authorities during the bid solicitation process to call attention to possible bid law violations.
For more information regarding the public construction and public bidding, please visit the Attorney General’s website.
This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn B. Jones, Deputy Chief of AG Coakley’s Fair Labor Division and Assistant Attorney General Brian O’Donnell also of the Fair Labor Division.