Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The Honorable Antonio F.D. Cabral, House Chair
The Honorable Marc R. Pacheco, Senate Chair
Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
State House, Boston
Dear Chair Cabral, Chair Pacheco, and Distinguished Members of the Committee,
On behalf of cities and towns across the Commonwealth, the Massachusetts Municipal Association is writing to offer our comments regarding several bills that were heard before your committee at your July 14, 2021 public hearing.
The MMA opposes H. 3100, An Act requiring municipalities to place insurance out to bid. The insurance procurement process involves significant discussion and negotiation between municipalities and carriers regarding the structure of insurance coverage, including attachment levels, deductibles, risk management and loss control training and assistance, the term/length of engagement, and many other factors, which is why insurance services are expressly exempt from Chapter 30B. Cities and towns are in the best position to assess their insurance needs, and to determine when and how to solicit proposals, negotiate and reach agreement with various carriers to meet their coverage needs at the best value. This bill implies that insurance products and coverage options are all structured the same, which is certainly not the case. H. 3100 would make insurance procurement much more difficult and much less effective for cities and towns, and create a process that would discourage creative, effective and affordable solutions for the particular needs of each community.
The MMA opposes H. 3134, An Act prohibiting certain business dealings with agents of foreign adversaries by the Commonwealth and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. This complicated bill would seemingly forbid a company based in the U.S. from receiving support from a “nonmarket economy company,” which may include China. This would tie the hands of municipal officials from dealing with many U.S.-based companies who use products from “nonmarket economies,” further limiting their ability to successfully bid out these contracts.
The MMA supports H. 3151, An Act relative to snow hauling and removal. The routine snow and ice programs of most local jurisdictions include both the plowing of snow during an emergency event and the removal and hauling away of snow after the event. In a recent interpretation, the Office of the Inspector General has determined M.G.L. 30B Section 1(b)(17) to apply only to snow plowing, and not to snow hauling. The result of this interpretation is that jurisdictions must now publicly bid snow hauling services, and those contractors who are involved with plowing are not permitted to perform snow hauling services unless they are the successful bidder for snow hauling. Because snow hauling is the more lucrative aspect of the snow and ice removal process, fewer venders are willing to contract with communities for plowing services if they do not have the snow hauling contract. The primary mission for cities and towns with respect to snow and ice is to clear streets and parking lots in a safe and timely manner. Because of the tight economic climate, some municipalities are experiencing a shortage of plow contractors because they are migrating to other communities where they are allowed to participate in a hauling program. This bill would make the necessary change to clearly exempt snow hauling from the procurement process.
The MMA opposes H. 3212, An Act eliminating the Procurement Act exemption for waste and recycling contracts. While some municipalities are moving in this direction, others are not. This bill would create a one-size-fits-all mandate that would force all municipalities to put out to bid these services. Municipalities who wish to use the bidding process are free to do so now, and this exemption from Chapter 30B should remain in place for those municipalities who wish to use their own successful procurement method.
The MMA opposes H. 3215, An Act to promote Massachusetts manufacturers. While we understand the importance of supporting Massachusetts businesses, in practice, this bill would create damaging limits on the competitive bidding process and reduce options for cities and towns, potentially driving up costs to taxpayers.
We ask you to preserve and expand municipal flexibility, and to oppose new mandates or administrative requirements on cities and towns. Please also direct your attention to the comments made by the Massachusetts Association of Public Purchasing Officials (MAPPO) as the technical experts in this area. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me or MMA’s incoming Legislative Director David Koffman at email@example.com at any time.
Thank you very much for your consideration of the municipal perspective on these very important local government matters.
Geoffrey C. Beckwith
MMA Executive Director & CEO