For the second time this year, the legislature made significant changes to the competitive bidding statute.  The most recent amendment expands the “piggybacking” exception, such that municipalities may now purchase apparatus, materials, equipment and supplies, and contract for certain services, through the use of contracts let by the United States or any agency thereof, as well as contracts let by any state or any other political subdivision or district therein. 

Late last month, the Office of the State Comptroller issued a bulletin summarizing the provisions of this new amendment, and detailing the three prerequisites that must be met in order for the purchase to fall within this new exception.  The bulletin is a “must read” for any municipality interested in utilizing this new exception.  It may be downloaded from the Comptroller’s website at www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/pubs/piggybackinglaw.pdf.

As noted by the Comptroller:

 “Many local governments have already been approached by vendors offering goods and services under other governmental contracts.  In some cases, vendors may have asserted that the contract falls within the exception.  It is the responsibility of local officials to review each proposed procurement to determine, on advice of the local government’s counsel as appropriate, whether the procurement falls within the exception.”

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss how this amendment may impact your procurement policies or other public bidding issues, please feel free to contact Peter Weishaar at pweishaar@mccmlaw.com or (585) 512-3542. Mr. Weishaar represents several fire districts in the Greater Rochester Area. His municipal practice also includes the ongoing representation of planning and zoning boards, as well as the representation of municipalities as special counsel in litigation matters.

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