M.G.L. c. 30B (Chapter 30B) was enacted in 1990 and resulted from collaboration among the Office of the Inspector General, the Massachusetts Association of Public Purchasing Officials, the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials, the City Solicitors and Town Counsel Association (now the Massachusetts Municipal Lawyers Association), and local officials to adapt the American Bar Association’s Model Procurement Code to reflect specific Massachusetts practice and case law.
The contracting procedures in Chapter 30B are based on three premises:
- Uniform contracting procedures promote competition and fairness. Chapter 30B clarified and demystified local contracting for vendors competing for contracts and for citizens observing the process.
- Fair, robust competition for larger procurements saves money and promotes integrity and public confidence in government.
- Scaled procedures reflect that larger contracts merit more attention than smaller contracts and enable local governmental bodies to devote more attention to larger contracts.
In general, Chapter 30B applies to the procurement of supplies and services, dispositions of surplus supplies, and the acquisition and disposition of real property.
Over the years, the statute has been amended several times. The most recent changes to Chapter 30B occurred on August 9, 2016, when the Governor signed An Act Modernizing Municipal Finance and Government. The Act also amended many laws related to municipal finance and governance and certain public construction bid laws – M.G.L. c. 30, and M.G.L. c. 149. The changes were effective on November 7, 2016.
Specifically, the Act amended certain thresholds and requirements in Chapter 30B for purchasing supplies and services. Chapter 30B establishes three sets of procedures for procuring supplies and services, depending on the actual dollar value of the procurement. Beginning November 7, 2016, the dollar thresholds changed as follows:
|Less than $10,000||Use sound business practices|
|$10,000 - $50,000||Request 3 written quotes|
|More than $50,000||Solicit competitive sealed bids or proposals|
As listed above, procurement officials will need to seek at least three written quotations for supplies and services valued between $10,000 and $50,000. Also, under the Act, Invitations for Bids or Requests for Proposals will need to be advertised on COMMBUYS; this is in addition to posting a notice in a conspicuous place in or near your local jurisdiction's offices and publishing the notice in a newspaper of general circulation. The Act also changed the rules related to compensating balance accounts. The provisions related to real property transactions did not change.
Finally, the Act also raised thresholds, changed certain procedures, and amended the advertising requirements for construction projects undertaken pursuant to M.G.L. c. 30, § 39M, and M.G.L. c. 149. For construction-related questions, you may contact the Attorney General’s Bid Unit Office at (617) 963-2371 or at AGOBidUnit@state.ma.us.
The full text of the Act is available at: Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2016.
Chapter 30B prescribes procedures for the disposition of surplus supplies with a value of $10,000 or more and requires that the procurement officer dispose of surplus supplies with an estimated net value of less than $10,000 using written procedures approved by the governmental body. Also, Chapter 30B prescribes procedures for the acquisition of an interest in real property by purchase or rental with a cost of more than $35,000, and for the disposition of an interest in real property by sale or rental with a value greater than $35,000.