At the Monday, March 13, 2017 Select Board meeting, Jim Lescault, Executive Director of Amherst Media, spoke during public comment, presenting to the Select Board a very real alternative to the path of Request for Proposal the Town was on. The Office of Inspector General had written their opinion regarding PEG services and 30B procurement totally redefining how the Town of Amherst’s government had interpreted the regulations.
Mr. Lescault presented an email from Joshua L. Giles, Director, Policy and Government Division, Office of the Inspector General, State of Massachusetts to David Sullivan, General Counsel, in the Senate President’s Office.
Mr. Giles had been asked to look at the definition of what type of work done on the behalf of a city or town constitutes the need to enact a 30B procurement Request for Proposal (RFP), specifically as it relates to non-profit providers of PEG and whether a 30B exemption was warranted.
After citing the definitions and differences between “Grant Agreement” and “Services” he opinioned the following:
“Since many of the of these PEG services are provided by nonprofits through grant agreements with the town and are therefore not considered “services” under c. 30B, there isn’t a need for an exemption since, under the circumstances, PEG services provided by a nonprofit are not subject to c.30B in the first place.”
He went on to write:
“One key distinction here is that this applies to nonprofits, not for-profits. The other key is that the nonprofit is carrying out a public support or stimulation, which PEG services are”.
This clarification by the Office of the Inspector General, that PEG services provided by nonprofits are not subject to 30B procurement laws and regulations, removes the overriding premise held by the Town Manager and the Select Board that they were mandated to follow 30B procurement due to the Department of Revenue (DOR) memo on accounting options for PEG revenues.
With this letter from the Inspector General’s Office, Mr. Lescault encouraged the Select Board to not post the RFP this coming Friday, but instead begin meaningful collaborative negotiations with Amherst Media for a new ten-year contract, one that will meet the needs of the Town’s citizens.
“We all want the very best for the Town’s residents and I believe if Amherst Media is given the chance, through a fair and transparent contract negotiation, we will continue to provide the services that meet the citizens needs, as we have done for the past 41 years," said Mr. Lescault.
A special thanks goes out to the Senate President, Stan Rosenberg and his General Counsel David Sullivan who saw this issue as important and critical for the future of local Independent Media statewide. We owe them our gratitude and respectful recognition for making this a priority on our collective behalf.
Please let the Town Manager and the Select Board know that you agree with stopping the RFP and opening fruitful negotiations with Amherst Media.
Now is the time to ensure that it happens please write once again to:
Town Manager at: (413) 259-3333