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From left, Shelley Hebert, Administrative Assistant, Theresa Cormier, Budget Analyst, and Andrew O’Leary, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, New Bedford Public Schools.

From left, Shelley Hebert, Administrative Assistant, Theresa Cormier, Budget Analyst, and Andrew O’Leary, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations, New Bedford Public Schools.

Andrew O’Leary’s bet paid off. About two years ago, he reviewed the procurement processes in place for New Bedford Public Schools and determined that adopting the use of OSD’s Statewide Contracts (SWC) and COMMBUYS made better sense for his organization. Because of this decision, Andrew believes he and his team were well-positioned to quickly obtain the vital PPE and other critical items needed for students and their families, teachers, and the school administration staff when COVID-19 struck.

As the Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations for New Bedford Public Schools, Andrew manages the budget for the entire school district, overseeing payroll, accounts payable, maintenance and operations, information technology, transportation, and foodservice.

“When COVID hit, we were bombarded with solicitations to buy PPE from a variety of companies and it was hard to determine which were valid offers. We opted to use Statewide Contracts to get the PPE, air movers, portable HVAC units, and other items needed for the schools and we secured our orders through COMMBUYS,” said Andrew. “The OSD contracts for PPE were fantastic and they featured a 90-day return policy, which gave us a level of assurance that we could return items not needed. For us, this was a much better scenario than being thrown to the wolves, so to speak,” he continued.

Looking back two years ago, Andrew explained that two principles drove his decision to move to OSD’s SWCs and COMMBUYS for their procurements – best value and transparency. “I looked at our past procurements and the contracts we had procured and knew we could do better,” Andrew recalled. He reached out to Patricia Burke from OSD’s Local Government Enablement Team to begin the implementation process with the mandate that all staff members – not just department heads – would participate in COMMBUYS training.

According to Patricia, “The New Bedford Public Schools is a great partner and their use of OSD’s contracts go far beyond PPE! While folks were familiar with and often utilized OSD’s contracts prior to the implementation, since then, all department users have increased their commitment, demonstrating flawless adherence to Contract User Guide roadmaps and seamless execution of their vendor orders using COMMBUYS. These efforts have improved procurement transparency and efficiency, and resulted in hundreds of orders valued at millions of dollars.”

“Working with OSD was a good experience – COMMBUYS is easy to use! It was a team process that was well worth the investment of time. On the human capital side, it was great to see folks embrace the opportunity to learn and grow,” said Andrew. “In fact, we promoted an employee who demonstrated great initiative in utilizing COMMBUYS during and after the training process,” he concluded.

If your local government organization is interested in learning more about COMMBUYS and the use of OSD’s Statewide Contracts, please contact COMMBUYSEnablement@mass.gov.

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