An important message to communities about procurement assistance
Procurement Assistance for Communities
Communities have expressed concern about how procurement delays may impede their ability to contract with technical consultants and other advisors, given the time constraints of the gaming application schedule. In order to help communities manage time constraints, the Commission offers the following.
Technical Assistance Through Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs)
In recognition of the time needed to conduct a thoughtful procurement, the Commission has worked to establish a technical assistance program involving RPAs which, as public sector agencies, can provide services without the need for procurement. Under the program, if a gaming applicant chooses to provide regional technical assistance services through RPAs, communities within that region could utilize the RPAs for their technical assistance needs. Communities should contact their gaming applicant to determine if that applicant has decided to participate in the RPA program. If an applicant agrees to provide technical assistance services to a community, and the RPA is available to provide services, the community could use this funding to reimburse an RPA for its expenses.
If an applicant chooses not to participate in the RPA regional technical assistance program, communities can still utilize RPAs for their individual technical assistance needs. RPAs could be an alternative to private consultancy services, which in most cases need to be obtained through a procurement process. If an applicant refuses to provide technical assistance funding to a community, the community could petition the Commission to require the applicant to provide such funding. In its petition, the community could state that it plans to use the services of an RPA for such assistance, instead of a private consultant, if the RPA is available to provide assistance.
Technical Assistance Through Private Consultants – Inspector General Advice
If a community does not utilize the services of an RPA, it may choose to procure private advisors with voluntary funding from applicants or through involuntary funding made available to the community via a petition to the Commission.
In order to minimize any delay between the availability of technical assistance funding and the execution of contracts with advisors, the Commission urges communities to do as much advance planning as possible prior to the availability of funding. Although M.G.L. c. 30B, §12(a) specifies that a municipality “shall not enter into a contract unless funds are available for the first fiscal year at the time of contracting,” it does not prohibit communities from completing before the availability of funding many of the steps necessary for a successful procurement. For example, the Inspector General’s Office has advised the Commission that a community could issue a procurement document prior to the availability of funding provided that the document 2
specifies that the award is contingent upon the availability of funding and provided that the community does not execute an agreement with a winning bidder prior to funding being made available. The Inspector General’s office has established a procurement assistance hotline, 617-722-8838, that communities may contact with procurement issues relating to gaming consultants. The Ombudsman’s Office can also help put communities in contact with the Inspector General’s Office, which has offered to provide further educational resources to communities with gaming related procurement issues.
Use of Department of Housing & Community Development (“DHCD”)
DHCD has agreed to allow communities which receive a Commission grant (either a voluntary community disbursement grant or an involuntary disbursement award) to use DHCD’s pre-qualified list of planning and community development consultants. This list of consultants may be used without the need for a separate procurement only in conjunction with the Commission grant and only for services of the nature procured under DHCD’s Request for Response (RFR). If a community does not wish to use a consultant on this list, it must conduct its own procurement under M.G.L. c. 30B. The RFR and the list of consultants can be found on Comm-PASS (www.comm-pass.com) by searching for Contract Document Number DHCD2009-02. The consultants’ contracts are in the process of being renewed. New rate information for the consultants is being updated on Comm-PASS as needed until all of the contract amendments are executed. Communities wishing to utilize a consultant from the list are urged to contact the Ombudsman’s office. The Ombudsman will work with communities to help them comply with DHCD’s requirements to utilize this pre-qualified list of consultants.
Use of Commission Procured Consultants
The Commission also has procurements underway in the following areas (with the anticipated date that communities can use the results of the procurement in parentheses):
- Project Coordinator Services for Gaming License Evaluation: MGC-EPC-2013 (July 25, 2013)
- Building, Site Design, and Mitigation Advisory Services: MGC-BSD-2013 (September 5, 2013)
- Economic Development Consulting Services: MGC-EDC-2013 (September 5, 2013)
The Commission has indicated in these RFR’s that the successful bidder can be hired by multiple agencies. The Commission hopes to pre-qualify several vendors for each procurement that communities can consider for work, provided that there is no conflict with responsibilities due to the Commission. Communities with an interest in utilizing the services of these consultants (once procured / if available) should also contact the Ombudsman’s Office.
Ombudsman Contact Information
Any communities with questions on these and other gaming related matters are urged to contact Ombudsman John Ziemba at 617-979-8400 or via e-mail at John.S.Ziemba@state.ma.us.