Monday, November 22, 2010

Local Preferences: Awarding Work to Local Firms

The Great Recession has prompted many local governments to think creatively on how to keep local contractors and their employees busy rather than permit construction dollars going to non-local firms.

Here are a couple of stories and resources addressing the issue of local preference:

Breaking Up Work in Smaller Contracts:  In Pennsylvania, the Hancock County School District in New Cumberland has made the decision to package construction bid packages for a three-year, $56 million program into smaller contracts, allowing local contractors the chance to compete for smaller projects.  If the entire project was bid separately, only large firms from far away would have the capacity to bid.  Click here to read an article from The Review.

Seeking Changes in State Law:  In Massachusetts, the town of Middleboro reluctantly awarded a water tank construction project to the low bidder from New Hampshire.  The second low bidder was from nearby East Bridgewater, Massachusetts but their bid was $4,000 higher.  Massachusetts state law requires award to the lowest bidder.  After awarding the project to the out-of-state firm, town officials voted to work for a change in the state's procurement laws that would permit them to grant preference to local firms.  Click here to read an article from

Unpacking the Meaning of Local Preferences:  From North Carolina, Eileen R. Youens, Assistant Professor of Public Law and Government at the University of North Carolina's School of Government, has written extensively on the subject of local preference.  She is one of the most knowledgeable and articulate commentators on public contracting.  You can read her entertaining and useful "Local Preferences in Public Contracting" blog posts by clicking below:
  1. Part 1
  2. Part 2
  3. Part 3
  4. Part 4
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog
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