Page 2 THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – Friday, June 14, 2019 State Inspector General’s Office: School Dept.’s custodial service bid documents should have become public once decision was made By Mark E. Vogler I t appears the School Committee ignored the state Public Records Law when it denied two of its members documents related to the awarding of a contract to companies that responded to requests for proposals on custodial services. It also appears that Saugus Public Schools and the Town of Saugus are ignoring a public records request submitted last week by The Saugus Advocate. “If Saugus followed Section 6 of Chapter 30B for a Request for Proposals, then the jurisdiction must maintain a register of all proposals received which is a public record,” Jack Meyers of the state Inspector General’s Office wrote in an email to The Saugus Advocate. “However, the price and nonprice proposals are not public record until the evaluation process is complete,” wrote Meyers, who is the agency’s senior investigator/press liaison in the agency’s Audit, Oversight and Investigations Division. [If Saugus followed Section 5 of Chapter 30B for an Invitation for Bids the bids are required to be opened in public. That means that they must be opened either in a meeting which fulfills the requirements of the state’s open meeting law or in the presence of one or more witnesses. When bids are opened they are public records.] “As I mentioned during our phone call, the Secretary of State’s office handles disputes over public records and has authority over public records. Our office does not,” Meyers said. Meyers was responding to several questions submitted to him by The Saugus Advocate: 1) Is the public entitled to review documents related to companies that submitted bids and what the bid amount was for bids, whethWe Carry... * Lifetime Waterproof Warranty * Ceramic, Porcelain & Stone Tile * Hardwood Prefinished and Unfinished, Do-it-Yourselfer Products! Drop by our Showroom and check out our 250 styles of area rugs and other products! 31 Osprey Rd., Saugus * 781-289-9676 Contact@Russoflooring.com Lawrence A. Simeone Jr. Attorney-at-Law ~ Since 1989 ~ * Corporate Litigation * Criminal/Civil * MCAD * Zoning/Land Court * Wetlands Litigation * Workmen’s Compensation * Landlord/Tenant Litigation * Real Estate Law * Construction Litigation * Tax Lein * Personal Injury * Bankruptcy * Wrongful Death * Zoning/Permitting Litigation 300 Broadway, Suite 1, Revere * 781-286-1560 Lsimeonejr@simeonelaw.net er they have been opened or not? 2) If bids have been opened, is the public allowed to inspect those bids or must the bids be officially awarded in public? 3) Under what circumstances can the public be denied the right to inspect documents related to bids submitted, whether they have been opened or not? Access to bidding records is covered by Exemption (h), under the state Public Records Law. “A Guide to the Massachusetts Public Records Law” notes that the exemption “serves to protect the integrity of the bidding processes used by the government to procure goods and services by allowing a records custodian to withhold the proposals of early bidders from other interested parties.” The exemption allows government officials “to review bids and proposals in an insulated environment, but also provides for public review of all evaluative materials once a decision is reached.” This exemption addresses two types of records held by an awarding authority (records custodian), each with its own time frame. Proposals may be withheld until the time for the receipt of proposals has expired, according to the public records guide. Bids may be withheld until such time as the bids are publicly opened and read by the awarding authority. “This allows the proposals of early bidders to be kept in confidence so that subsequent bidders do not gain an unfair advantage, thus, keeping all on equal footing,” the guide states. “The limitation on the duration SERVICE | SEE PAGE 17 Saugus student named Garrity Scholarship recipient S t. Mary’s High School in Lynn has selected the first group of Msgr. Paul V. Garrity Scholars for a four-year, full scholarship that covers tuition and fees. The recipients, who were recognized at a ceremony on campus highlighting their accomplishments, include Adrianna Bowker of Saugus. The Garrity Scholars program is a $1 million scholarship initiative named for the former pastor of St. Mary’s Parish, who is credited with leading St. Mary’s High School to new levels of academic achievement during his tenure in Lynn. “Monsignor Garrity’s efforts to have St. Mary’s recognized as one of the strongest Catholic schools in the archdiocese are still felt today,” said Head of School Dr. John F. Dolan. “We are thrilled to welcome the first group of Garrity Scholars to the St. Mary’s family.” Adrianna Bowker of Saugus is presented her Garrity Scholarship by St. Mary’s Head of School Dr. John F. Dolan (left) and Msgr. Paul V. Garrity. (Courtesy Photo to The Saugus Advocate) The Garrity Scholars is a competitive, merit-based program that recognizes the best and brightest students interested in a transformative educational experience offered at St. Mary’s. The scholarship program acknowledges excellence through focus on STEM education, personal leadership qualities and a commitment to the St. Mary’s pillars of Catholic, Excellence, Integrity and Respect, all hallmarks of Msgr. Garrity. “We are extremely pleased with the caliber of students the Garrity Scholars program attracted in its first year,” said Associate Head of School David Angeramo. “We are anticipating great things from them in the next four years. They all have the potential to be leaders in our school community.” The Garrity Scholars will also $3.39 $2.55 GALLON GALLON We accept: MasterCard * Visa * & Discover Price Subject to Change without notice 100 Gal. Min. 24 Hr. Service 781-286-2602 be part of the St. Mary’s Scholars program, which provides additional classwork, faculty mentors, team-building activities and college-preparedness training. Garrity Scholars were selected based on their academic achievement, scores on the archdiocesan high school placement test, essay and interview with a panel of St. Mary’s administrators and faculty. “I consider myself a leader because of my desire to help others without expecting anything in return,” Bowker wrote in her essay.

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