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General Laws

Section 5. (a) Except as permitted under section six or section eight, award of procurement contracts in the amount of $25,000 or more, other than contracts for the procurement of real property, shall conform to the competitive sealed bidding procedures set forth in this section.

(b) A procurement officer shall issue an invitation for bids for a procurement contract. The invitation for bids shall include:

(1) the time and date for receipt of bids, the address of the office to which bids are to be delivered, the maximum time for bid acceptance by the governmental body;

(2) the purchase description and all evaluation criteria to be utilized pursuant to paragraph (e); and

(3) all contractual terms and conditions applicable to the procurement.

The invitation for bids may incorporate documents by reference; provided, however, that the invitation for bids specifies where prospective bidders may obtain the documents. The procurement officer shall make copies of the invitation for bids available to all persons on an equal basis.

(c) The procurement officer shall give public notice of the invitation for bids a reasonable time prior to the date for the opening of bids. The notice shall:

(1) indicate where, when and for how long invitations for bids may be obtained;

(2) describe the supply or service desired, and reserve the right of the governmental body to reject any or all bids;

(3) if award of the contract is subject to the approval of any board, committee, commission or other body, so state and identify each such body;

(4) remain posted, for at least two weeks, in a conspicuous place in or near the offices of the governmental body until the time specified in the invitation for bids; and

(5) be published at least once, not less than two weeks prior to the time specified for the receipt of bids, in a newspaper of general circulation within the area served by the governmental body.

For procurements in the amount of twenty-five thousand dollars or more, or such larger amount as may be established by the state secretary, the procurement officer shall also place the notice in any publication established by the state secretary for the advertisement of such procurements.

The procurement officer may distribute copies of the notice to prospective bidders, and may compile and maintain lists of prospective bidders to which notices may be sent.

A city or town which regularly publishes a periodical listing municipal contracting opportunities may apply to the state secretary for permission to utilize such periodical in lieu of advertising in a newspaper of general circulation. The state secretary, after notice and an opportunity for interested persons to present their views, may grant, renew, or revoke permission for said city or town to utilize such periodical in lieu of newspaper advertising for procurements or classes of procurements not to exceed such amount as may be established by the state secretary. Such permission shall remain in effect for a specified period not to exceed three years. In granting, renewing, or revoking such permission, the state secretary shall consider whether the periodical provides prospective contractors with reasonable notice of contracting opportunities, taking account of such factors as circulation, accessibility, reliability, and cost of the periodical. Such permission and any renewal or revocation thereof shall be in writing filed with the city or town clerk, the inspector general, and the state secretary.

(d) The procurement officer shall open bids publicly either (1) at a meeting subject to the provisions of section eleven A 1/2 of chapter thirty A, section nine G of chapter thirty-four or section twenty-three B of chapter thirty-nine, in the presence of a quorum, and the names of all bidders and the amounts of their bids shall be entered in the minutes, or (2) in the presence of one or more witnesses, and the procurement officer and said witnesses shall sign a statement under penalties of perjury listing the names of all bidders and the amounts of their bids and declaring that said list is a complete and accurate list of bids opened in the presence of said witnesses. Such minutes or statement, or a certified copy thereof, shall be filed with the contract.

(e) The procurement officer shall evaluate a bid based solely on the requirements and criteria set forth in the invitation for bids. Such criteria shall include the standards by which the procurement officer will determine acceptability as to quality, workmanship, results of inspections and tests, and suitability for a particular purpose.

(f) The procurement officer shall unconditionally accept a bid without alteration or correction, except as provided in this paragraph. A bidder may correct, modify, or withdraw a bid by written notice received in the office designated in the invitation for bids prior to the time and date set for the bid opening. After bid opening, a bidder may not change the price or any other provision of the bid in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the governmental body or fair competition. The procurement officer shall waive minor informalities or allow the bidder to correct them. If a mistake and the intended bid are clearly evident on the face of the bid document, the procurement officer shall correct the mistake to reflect the intended correct bid and so notify the bidder in writing, and the bidder may not withdraw the bid. A bidder may withdraw a bid if a mistake is clearly evident on the face of the bid document but the intended correct bid is not similarly evident.

(g) The procurement officer shall award the contract to the lowest responsible and responsive bidder. A contract requiring payment to the governmental body of a net monetary amount shall be awarded to the highest responsible and responsive bidder. The procurement officer shall award the contract by written notice to the selected bidder within the time for acceptance specified in the invitation for bids. The time for acceptance may be extended for up to 45 days by mutual agreement between the governmental body and the apparent lowest responsible and responsive bidder or, for a contract requiring payment to the governmental body, by mutual agreement between the governmental body and the highest apparent responsible and responsive bidder.

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