Recently, it has come to our attention that some governmental agencies have been advertising their procurement bids with Comm-PASS (Commonwealth Procurement Access & Solicitation System), and not in the Central Register or the Goods & Services Bulletin as required by law. As you may already be aware, the Governor's Division of Operational Services, which oversees procurement, now publishes certain state bid notices via the Internet through a recently developed program called Com-PASS. Several agencies we contacted indicated that they were under the impression that they only had to place their bid notices on Comm-PASS. Nothing could be further from the truth. State law (Ch.9, section 20A) and state regulations (950 CMR 21.00) mandate that state, county, and local government agencies all place their bid notices for certain design, construction-related, and real estate projects in the Central Register. In addition, the Uniform Procurement Law (Chapter 30B, section 5) still requires all municipalities and county agencies to advertise most bids for procurements over $100,000 in the Goods & Services Bulletin. Any bid which is supposed to be advertised in the Central Register or the Goods & Services Bulletin, but is placed only on Comm-PASS instead, is illegal and could be subject to a challenge. Stiff penalties could also be issued and, if necessary, enforced by the Inspector General's Office if authorized by the Attorney General. It is important to note that the only government agencies that must adhere to the Governor's regulations requiring the use of Comm-PASS are those agencies that fall under the executive branch at the state level. The state legislature, judiciary, other constitutional offices, independent authorities, educational institutions, county government, and all 351 municipalities do not have to adhere to the Comm-PASS regulations, but generally are required to advertise in the Central Register or the Goods & Services Bulletin. We hope that this clarifies any confusion that has arisen over the past few months regarding the bid procedure. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact our office at 617-727-2831.