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July 15, 2014

RE: Weekly Summer Legislative Update

Dear Mayor:

I. A-947/S-2216,would require the release of bidder’s list prior to the bid opening

The League strongly opposes A-947/S-2216, which would require municipalities, counties and local authorities to release the names, upon request, of all parties who have received bid documents prior to the bid opening once three or more bid packets have been obtained.  The bill passed the Assembly 59-16-3 on June 23rd and now awaits consideration by the Senate Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

The release of the bidders’ list would have to be made available in a timely manner in accordance with the Open Public Records Act.  In addition, municipalities will have the option to post the list on their websites.  However, failure to release this information would prohibit a municipality from accepting the bids and require the re-advertisement for bids.  The League opposes A-947/S-2216 for several reasons:

  1. We are concerned that the release of the bidders’ names prior to the receipt of bids could lead to collusion and bid rigging.
  2. We are concerned that the bill will require a municipality to create and maintain a record.  Presently, the Local Public Contracts Law does not require a municipality to create or maintain such a record.
  3. We are concerned with the benchmark of “three or more bids” before the release of the bidders’ list.  We believe that this arbitrary benchmark will lead to costly litigation.  If a person requests a copy of the bidders’ list but at that time only two bid packets have been released and twenty minutes later a third person obtains a bid packet what is the municipality’s obligation to the person who requested the list? 

The public bidding process should be open and competitive.  The names of bidders are routinely released after a bid opening.  We are troubled with releasing the list prior to a bid opening because it has the potential to limit competition, which can drive up costs for taxpayers and create an environment that could possibly lead to bid rigging and collusion. A draft resolution of opposition is available at: http://www.njslom.org/resolutions/bidders_list_sample_resolution.pdf

Please contact your Senator and urge them to vote NO on A-947/S-2216.
Contact: Lori Buckelew, 609-695-3481 x112, lbuckelew@njslom.com

II.  A-1340 Requires Removal of Equipment and Markings from Used Emergency Vehicles
The League supports A-1340. This common-sense bill requires that, prior to the sale or transfer of an authorized emergency vehicle, any equipment or marking that would identify it as an emergency vehicle must be removed. Under current law, there is no requirement for the removal of equipment and emergency markings prior the sale of the vehicle.  An "authorized emergency vehicle" is defined as any vehicle of the fire department, police department or ambulance and other vehicles operated in response to an emergency call.

Equipment that must be removed includes handheld spotlights affixed to side mirrors, antennas used for emergency response communication equipment, mobile vision and mobile data terminals, sirens, strobe lights, or any other light with optional strobe functions typically used on an authorized emergency vehicle. The markings that must be removed include any decal, insignia, or striping added to the authorized emergency vehicle by a state or municipal agency, or any other government entity engaged in law enforcement, fire services, or emergency medical transportation.

The bill does not apply if the vehicle is to be conveyed to any government entity engaged in law enforcement, fire services, or emergency medical transportation, including a volunteer fire company; a volunteer first aid, ambulance or rescue squad; a person who is an authorized dealer of emergency vehicles, or a non-governmental emergency service provider.

We salute the sponsors for their leadership on this initiative, which has already passed the Assembly. The bill awaits consideration in the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
Contact: Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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