ELLICOTT CITY, MD—The attorney general of Massachusetts has ruled that a local school district can restrict bidding for a running track project to companies that employ someone who is certified by the American Sports Builders Association (ASBA).
In requesting bids for a track resurfacing project, the Masconomet Regional School District in Topsfield, MA set as one of its conditions that the bidder for the job employ an ASBA-certified track builder. The low bidder was not awarded the job because it did not have such an individual on staff; as a result, it protested the award of the job to such a company.
Massachusetts law requires that public construction bids be awarded to the “lowest responsible and eligible bidder.” Bidder is defined as one who has the skill, ability and integrity necessary to faithfully perform the work.
In defending its decision to require that the bidder employ a certified track builder, the school district argued that it had encountered serious problems regarding the workmanship in prior track installations, which justified the use of the certification requirement as a means of identifying a qualified contractor.
The Massachusetts AG found that this decision was not arbitrary because the certification requirement “formed a rational basis for concluding that [the non-member company] was not a responsible bidder. The AG further found that the requirement is not overly restrictive because “certification is open to anyone who meets the ASBA’s standards.”