Section 40. The administrator shall establish a procedure for recommending to the secretary approval or disapproval of all contracts, including specifications, made by the division and any changes, alterations, amendments or modifications thereof and for contract appeals of all claims made under any contract with the division with the exception of claims subject to section 39Q of chapter 30. Any person aggrieved by a decision of the secretary acting in regard to contract appeals may bring suit against the commonwealth for recovery of damages based on such claim under chapter 258.
To assist the secretary and administrator in performing this function, the governor may appoint and remove a person of legal training and experience, who shall be a member of the bar of the commonwealth, to the position of hearing examiner. The hearing examiner shall devote his full time during business hours to the duties of this position. The position shall be classified in accordance with section 45 of chapter 30 and the salary shall be determined in accordance with section 46C of said chapter 30. The secretary may refer any dispute concerning contracts, contract specifications or the execution of contracts not subject to said section 39Q of said chapter 30 to the hearing examiner for a report on the matter, including a recommendation as to the disposition of the dispute.
The hearing examiner shall hear all claims by contractors from determinations of the division with the exception of claims subject to said section 39Q of said chapter 30 and shall, after hearing, render to the secretary a report of the matter including a recommendation as to the disposition of the claim. The examiner shall, at the request of the contractor or of the division or on his own motion, summon witnesses and require the production of books and records and take testimony under oath. Such reports shall be maintained as public records in a place and form fully accessible to the public.