News Release

Government watchdog groups praise new transparency requirement for all stimulus funded contracts

For Immediate Release

(BOSTON). Two good government groups praised the Administration’s new directive to require all federal stimulus funded contracts be posted on line at the state’s website.  Stimulus money is provided by the federal government under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) enacted by Congress in February.

“Transparency is the keystone to ensuring accountability and efficiency for investing the federal stimulus money in Massachusetts,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director of MASSPIRG, responding to a national report, Show Us the Stimulus,  highlighting best transparency practices among states, released today by Good Jobs First, a non-profit research center based in Washington, DC. http://www.goodjobsfirst.org/stimulusweb.cfm

“The good news is that most states, including Massachusetts, do a good job of providing information on the categories of ARRA spending. The bad news is that we still have lots of room for improvement,” added Pam Wilmot, executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts. “By calling for full, transparent disclosure of all contracts and the bidding and grant process, Massachusetts has made a big step towards ensuring transparency of stimulus funds.” 

Leslie Kirwan, the Secretary of Administration and Finance, released the following transparency rule:

Effective immediately, all public entities in the Commonwealth, including but not limited to Executive and Non-Executive departments, municipalities, counties, authorities and non-profit human service providers that issue a competitive bid or offer a grant that includes any amount of ARRA funds directly from the Commonwealth must post all procurement/grant and contract/grant award records at www.comm-pass.com (Comm-PASS), the Commonwealth’s free, publicly accessible Internet-based procurement system administered by the Commonwealth’s central procurement office, the Operational Services Division.

This posting requirement applies to all procurement and grant documents which are typically created or received during three phases:

    * Bid/Offer including Announcements, Requests for Qualifications, Requests for Information, Requests for Proposals/Responses, Requests for Grant Applications or Requests for Quote;

    * Response/Application including but not limited to the list of Responding Bidders/Grant Applicants, Bidder Responses,  the list of Awarded Contractors/Grantees; and,

    * Contract/Award including but not limited to Forms and Terms, Awarded Contractor/Grant Recipient information, Award Values.

Several organizations, including MASSPIRG, Common Cause Massachusetts,  Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center and One Massachusetts, are in the process of forming a coalition to promote a transparent and accountable recovery and expect to release a statement regarding best practices for Massachusetts soon.

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