For Immediate Release - January 28, 2014

Auditor Bump Approves UMass Dartmouth Bookstore Privatization Proposal

Boston, MA – In a report announced today, State Auditor Suzanne Bump determined that a University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass Dartmouth) proposal to privatize its campus bookstore complies with all provisions of the so-called “Privatization Law” and that the university may proceed with its plan.

“The University has presented a plan to privatize this function, and it passes muster.” said Bump. “It has demonstrated that the public interest is being served by providing services that are at least of equal quality to the services provided by public sector workers, and that the public will not end up losing money.”

The Privatization Law, officially titled Chapter 296 of the Acts of 1993, outlines the process that must be followed by agencies seeking to contract for a service that is presently performed by state employees. For a privatization proposal to proceed, the law requires the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) to certify through a prescribed process that the contracted services will be at least of equal quality and save public money.

The report estimated that over a five year period the proposal to privatize the campus bookstore would increase UMass Dartmouth’s revenues by $482,315.

Since 1995, OSA has reviewed 18 privatization proposals for state agencies, approving 10 of those proposals and objecting to 4 of them. In the other cases, OSA determined that the proposed privatization proposals were not subject to the law.

The threshold price for contracts that are subject to the Privatization Law, set at $500,000 in 2009, is adjusted by the State Auditor every January, in accordance with the cost of living.  This month, Auditor Bump increased the threshold amount to $543,442, up from $535,494 in 2013.

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