Advertising Bids in the Central Register and Goods & Services Bulletin
It has come to our attention that some governmental agencies have been advertising their procurement bids with COMMBUYS (an E-Procurement 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 Operational Services Division, which oversees some state agencies' procurement, publishes certain state bid notices via the Internet through a program called COMMBUYS (formerly called Comm-PASS). In the past, several agencies we contacted indicated that they were under the impression that they only had to place their bid notices on COMMBUYS. 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 COMMBUYS 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 COMMBUYS 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 COMMBUYS 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 in the past regarding the bid procedure. If you have any questions regarding this matter, please contact our office at 617-727-2831.