This page, OIG Bulletin, November 2020: Frequently Asked Questions, is offered by

OIG Bulletin, November 2020: Frequently Asked Questions

Our public procurement FAQs answer questions related to Chapter 30B.

Table of Contents

Addenda to a Request for Proposals

My town recently issued a request for proposals (RFP) under Section 6 of Chapter 30B. Before the due date, we discovered that we need to issue several addenda to the RFP. How should we post these addenda?

If you need to post addenda to an RFP, we recommend that you extend the due date for proposals to give vendors who have already submitted proposals a reasonable amount of time to either modify or withdraw their submissions. How much time is reasonable? It depends on the number and complexity of the addenda. Addenda involving significant changes will require more time than addenda involving minor adjustments. You may want to consult with your jurisdiction’s legal counsel to determine what would constitute a reasonable extension under your specific circumstances.

Because the process needs to be open and fair, give all vendors the same notice of the addenda. Provide notice to vendors who have already submitted proposals, and ask that they acknowledge receipt of the notice in writing. Keep these acknowledgments in your procurement file. Because the amended RFP may attract additional vendors, provide notice of the addenda on your town’s website or in a conspicuous location like your town hall, and require that they submit proposals by the extended due date.

Analysis of COVID-19 Test Kits

Our town would like to enter into a contract with a vendor for the analysis of self-administered COVID-19 test kits. The vendor would provide both the test kits and the laboratory analysis of the tests. Would this type of procurement be exempt under Chapter 30B?

Most likely, yes. Section 1(b)(16) of Chapter 30B exempts certain healthcare services, including contracts with medical and laboratory technicians, from the procedural requirements of the statute.

Because your town’s procurement is for the analysis of COVID-19 tests, it is a contract for healthcare services that would fall within this exemption. However, if your jurisdiction decided to purchase only test kits, which are supplies, separately from the testing service, that procurement would be subject to Chapter 30B. Also, although your planned procurement falls within a statutory exemption, the OIG recommends that you still use a competitive process to ensure that your jurisdiction obtains the best value.

Image of COVID-19

Disposition of Real Property at a Public Auction

Our jurisdiction would like to dispose of property valued at more than $35,000. Does Chapter 30B permit the disposition of real property through a public auction?

Yes, you may hold a live, online or virtual auction as long as you follow the advertising requirements described in M.G.L. c. 30B, § 16, for the disposal of real property valued at more than $35,000.

  • You must have the property appraised through a process customarily accepted as valid by the appraising profession prior to advertising the auction. See M.G.L. c. 30B, § 16(b).
  • You must then advertise the auction in a newspaper with a circulation sufficient to inform people in the affected locality. See id. at § 16(d).
  • You must publish the advertisement at least once a week for two consecutive weeks, and the last publication must occur at least eight days before the auction.
  • In addition, if the property is more than 2,500 square feet, you must publish an advertisement in the Central Register at least 30 days before the auction. Id.  
  • These advertisements must specify the location of the property, the fact that the property is being disposed of at a public auction and the time and place of the auction.
  • After the auction, you must publish the name of the purchaser and the transaction amount in the Central Register. See id. at § 16(f).

We recommend that you consult with your legal counsel before proceeding with plans for an auction to ensure that your local by-laws and ordinances allow for the disposal of real property through a public auction.

Finally, remember that the services of an auctioneer are subject to M.G.L. c. 30B. You will determine which procurement procedures apply based on the fee that will be paid to the auctioneer.

Unique Acquisition of Real Property

My local jurisdiction needs more parking for residents visiting our town hall. We would like to acquire a piece of property that costs more than $35,000 next to an existing public building for this purpose. How would we acquire this property under Section 16 of Chapter 30B?

Generally, Chapter 30B requires that jurisdictions solicit proposals when seeking to acquire real property that costs more than $35,000. See M.G.L. c. 30B, § 16.

However, the statute does not require that you solicit proposals if your local jurisdiction determines that it needs a particular piece of property because of that property’s unique qualities or location. See id. at § 16(e)(2).

This type of transaction is often referred to as a “unique acquisition” of real property. If the small piece of property adjacent to an existing public building is the only property that could meet your town hall’s parking needs, then this transaction could be considered a unique acquisition.

If your jurisdiction wants to make a unique acquisition of real property, Chapter 30B requires you to make a written determination that advertising will not benefit the jurisdiction because of the unique qualities or location of the property needed. See id. This determination must explain how that particular property satisfies your jurisdiction’s requirements.

Although a unique acquisition is exempt from the advertised solicitation process, your jurisdiction must follow the other requirements in M.G.L. c. 30B, § 16(e)(2). You must publish a notice in the Central Register at least thirty days before acquiring the property. This notice must include:

  1. The written determination of uniqueness and the reasons for that determination
  2. The names of parties that have a beneficial interest in the property
  3. The location and size of the property
  4. The proposed purchase price or rental terms. See id.

In addition, the seller must file a disclosure of beneficial interests with the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM). See M.G.L. c. 7C, § 38.

Chapter 30B remains in effect.

Additional Resources

Contact

Phone

Available 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., M-F. Our Chapter 30B Assistance Hotline is for public employees and individuals with Chapter 30B procurement questions. Direct questions related to design and construction procurement to the Attorney General’s Office.

We welcome non-English speakers to contact us. Confidential translation services are available in most languages. Let us know which language you will need when first contacting us.

Address

Office of the Inspector General
One Ashburton Place
Room 1311
Boston, MA 02108
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