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As soon as Terri Peznola started her new role as Purchasing Assistant with the Town of Saugus, she hit the ground running. During her first week on the job in September of 2016, she registered for the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official Program (MCPPO) offered through the Inspector General’s Office (IGO). With news from the IGO about the quickly approaching Municipal Modernization Act, Terri acted swiftly and registered for the OSD-hosted Neighbor-to-Neighbor events last fall.

Terri Peznola, OSD Trainer Leslie Doughty, and Jennifer Forsey at a desk with laptop walking through COMMBUYS training

From L to R; Terri Peznola, OSD Trainer Leslie Doughty, and Jennifer Forsey

As the former Executive Director of the Saugus Chamber of Commerce, Terri is accustomed to learning quickly on the job. At the Neighbor-to-Neighbor event in Everett on October 12, Terri not only learned how to prepare for the Municipal Modernization Act, but also heard more about COMMBUYS and the Local Government Enablement (LGE) team. She remarks, “I was grateful to have one place to go where I could learn what would be expected of me, and how to comply with the State laws.”

While at the event, she met LGE Account Manager Jennifer Forsey. Jennifer gave Terri a brief COMMBUYS demonstration, and they decided to set up a series of COMMBUYS training sessions for Saugus employees. “Once our staff returned from training, I encouraged them to get comfortable with the system because it can be intimidating trying to remember everything. Our town’s procurement is centralized, so I want the staff to be able to focus on their jobs, easily order what they need, and leave the rest to the Purchasing Department. Slowly but surely, they’re posting their first orders. It’s so exciting to see those orders come through.” To date, Saugus has trained 43 buyers and completed 15 purchase orders.

Terri continues, “COMMBUYS has been a godsend for me. It’s just a wealth of information all in one spot. Once you figure out where to go, everything you need is right there – all of the Statewide Contracts and how to use them.” When asked about the challenges she may have encountered, Terri says, “I can see how the system may be difficult to learn for someone who is not practicing it all of the time. For someone like me, in a town where our procurement is centralized, it really does start to become second nature. That’s not to say I know it all – I’m still learning, and I use all of my quick reference lists and notes. I have them hanging up at my desk to help me navigate. The Job Aids that OSD provides really cover everything. If I get stuck and have a question, I call the COMMBUYS Help Desk. I always get a helpful answer.”

What has been the Town’s most surprising outcome of using COMMBUYS? “We’re getting inquiries and responses to bids from vendors we didn’t know existed. You tend to learn all of the same faces, but that’s not the case with COMMBUYS. It’s really extended our reach and expanded our pool of vendors.”

Taking the next step to becoming more familiar with Statewide Contracts and COMMBUYS, Terri has registered for her first MASSBUYS EXPO, and will be joined by the Town Manager, Scott Crabtree, and Fire Chief, Michael Newbury. After signing up for her workshops, she exclaimed “the best part will be meeting the other purchasers from around the Commonwealth and learning from all of them, similar to Neighbor-to-Neighbor!”

If you attended a Neighbor-to-Neighbor event last fall and would like to request COMMBUYS training for your municipality, reach out to the LGE team at COMMBUYSEnablement@state.ma.us. We look forward to sharing the story of your COMMBUYS success!

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