Procurement, or the purchasing and disposing of public property, is guided by the provisions of M.G.L. c.30b, The Uniform Procurement Act, which you can access by clicking this link http://www.mass.gov/legis/laws/mgl/gl-30b-toc.htm.
The principal behind The Uniform Procurement Act is to encourage open and fair competition in purchasing practices of towns, counties and the state. Common sense tells us to always get a few bids, or estimates, to ensure that we are getting a fair price. The Uniform Procurement Act requires that we use common sense, but it also does provide for some exceptions, in the interest of good, effective government. One such exception is in the procurement of legal services, because it is very important to have access to reliable legal advice upon which the town or county can rely.
Despite these exceptions, it is the policy of this office and the County Commission to seek competitive bids for almost all the services we purchase, including but not limited to Legal Services, Office Supplies, Automobile Repairs, Fuel Oil and Kerosene, etc..
At various times of the year we put out "RFP's", or Requests For Proposal, to encourage this open and fair competition. We try to balance the natural tendency to choose local vendors with our fiduciary responsibility to spend the public dollars wisely.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at 508.696.3840, or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also contact the Office of the Inspector General, at 617-727-9140, or at http://www.mass.gov/ig/.