TOWN OF NANTUCKET
September 14, 2011
Pursuant to a request from the Attorney General’s Business and Labor Bureau, Fair Labor Division for a meeting with Town officials regarding recent issues about Airport procurement practices, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Rick Atherton, Chairman of the Airport Commission Foley Vaughan, Town Manager Libby Gibson, Town Counsel John Giorgio and the Town’s Chief Procurement Officer Diane O’Neil met with representatives from the Attorney General’s office on Wednesday, September 14, 2011.
The Attorney General requested the meeting in order to provide town officials with the Attorney General’s preliminary investigative findings regarding Airport procurement practices. The general findings include:
-- failure to require proper prevailing wage documentation on certain Airport construction projects as required by law
-- a closed system of bidding that the airport has developed to avoid procurement requirements
-- repeated instances of possible bid splitting
-- a practice of excessive change orders leading to unwarranted incremental increases in the scope of services on certain projects
-- lack of written contracts and/or specifications for work
-- the possibility of inappropriate “bartering” exchanges with vendors
-- back-dating bills or contracts.
The Attorney General cited specific violations of Massachusetts procurement laws, including:
-- renovations to restaurant space in the airport terminal without compliance with the designer selection law and public bidding construction laws
-- improper bidding of the airport landscape project which included the construction of a gazebo
-- misapplication of the exemption from bidding for “aviation uses”
-- telephone system work in apparent violation of bidding laws.
The Attorney General’s representatives also indicated that concurrent or future involvement of other state agencies may occur regarding these issues, such as the State Ethics Commission, Open Government Division of the Attorney General’s office, and the Inspector General’s office.
The Attorney General’s office is planning to issue a report of its findings, including a compliance order, sometime this fall.
Town officials informed the Attorney General that the Town is in the process of developing a Memorandum of Understanding which will be signed by the Board of Selectmen and the Airport Commission for the centralization of all Airport procurements under the Town’s Chief Procurement Officer.
Earlier this week the Town also issued a Request for Proposals for a forensic audit and management review of the Airport. The Town will share a copy of the audit report with the Attorney General when it is completed sometime in the early spring of 2012.
Town officials present at the meeting indicated that the town will fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation and indicated that they are fully committed to bringing the Airport into compliance with all laws of the Commonwealth relating to procurement and other matters.
CONTACT: Rick Atherton, Chairman/Board of Selectmen
DATE: September 14, 2011