Attorney General's Opinion
Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal
June 28, 2006
The Honorable Linda J. Yelmini
Department of Administrative Services
Dear Commissioner Yelmini:
By request dated
Conn. Gen. Stat. § 4a-59a(a) allows DAS to extend, for a maximum of two times, contracts that ordinarily would be subject to the competitive procurement requirements of Title 4a, provided that the DAS Commissioner makes certain written determinations and solicits at least four competitive quotations, including one from the existing vendor.
Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) . . . , the Commissioners of Administrative Services and Public Works may, for a period of one year from the date such contract would otherwise expire, extend any contract in effect on
The subject of your request is the meaning of the phrase “for a period of one year” in subsection (b).
In interpreting statutes we are obliged to observe certain principles. Pursuant to
The meaning of a statute shall, in the first instance, be ascertained from the text of the statute itself and its relationship to other statutes. If, after examining such text and considering such relationship, the meaning of such text is plain and unambiguous and does not yield absurd or unworkable results, extratextual evidence of the meaning of the statute shall not be considered.
Common sense may be used in construing laws.
Your request suggests that the meaning of the phrase “for a period of one year” in §4a-59a(b) is not “plain and unambiguous,” as
It appears that the General Assembly recognized the practical circumstance that the transition from one contractor to another in these basic and essential services might transcend the term already extended under Subsection (a). In light of this apparent purpose, it would be reasonable for DAS to interpret “for a period of one year” to mean the time needed to complete the competitive contracting process, but only for the limited period necessary to accomplish this and in no event more than one year. The State rarely needs a full year after a contract expires to award a new contract through the competitive procurement process. Often the competitive procurement process is complete prior to the expiration of the existing contract. Sometimes the process is not complete prior to that date, in which case the State may only need a few days, weeks or months before awarding and transitioning to the new contract. It would be rational and sensible for the General Assembly to permit contract extensions for only such limited time as is necessary to comply fully, effectively and fairly with the competitive procurement process rather than for it to mandate strictly a 365 day extension for the same purpose, when a lesser period would be sufficient.
Subsection (b), when construed together with subsection (a) and DAS’s other procurement statutes, would permit DAS to extend the specified essential service contracts for such time as needed, up to but not more than one year from the date such contracts would have expired. Since the legislative history of subsection (b) does not provide DAS with interpretive guidance, and since DAS does have broad latitude in interpreting its own statutes, such interpretation is reasonable and consistent with its own procedural and procurement mandates and objectives as well as common sense.
I trust this letter provides you with the answers to your questions. If you need further information, please contact me.
Very truly yours,