New Law Expands Exemption from Professional Services Selection Procedure

On January 1, 2019, a new law (Public Act 10-0968) will take effect that increases the threshold for waiving the requirements of the Local Government Professional Services Selection Act (“Act”), from $25,000 to $40,000.

The Act requires that certain units of local government, including boards of education, negotiate and enter into contracts for architectural, engineering, and land surveying services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualification for the services required by the school district. The Act is designed to assure that such services are provided at a fair and reasonable rate and, accordingly, establishes specific notice, submission, evaluation, and selection procedures for employing the services of architects, engineers, and land surveyors.

The requirements of the Act, however, can be waived when the fees of the architect, engineer, or land surveyor are expected to be less than a specific dollar threshold.  Previously, that threshold was $25,000.  Under the new law, the threshold is $40,000, and that amount will increase annually by a percentage equal to a measure of the Consumer Price Index.

In addition to the dollar threshold, compliance with the Act is not required when a board of education “has a satisfactory relationship with one or more firms,” or if a board of education determines by resolution that an “emergency situation exists.”

As a result of this new law, boards of education will have greater flexibility in selecting architects, engineers, and land surveyors, for a wider array of projects.

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