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Section 29: Accounts and reports of housing authorities; review of financial records; availability to public; audit; investigations by department; rules and regulations of department

Section 29. The members of a housing authority shall annually, at a time to be determined by the department, file with the department a written report for its last preceding fiscal year. The report shall be filed in the manner prescribed by the department and shall contain an agreed upon procedure for the review of housing authority financial records, an annual plan as provided for in this chapter and other information as the department may require.

Each housing authority shall contract with an independent external auditor to prepare the agreed upon procedures for review of housing authority financial records. An external compliance auditor shall perform not more than 5 consecutive agreed upon procedures for review of housing authority financial records for a housing authority; provided, however, that the department may grant a waiver of this requirement to a housing authority that proves unsuccessful in procuring bids from multiple external auditors qualified to perform the housing authority’s state compliance audit. The department shall promulgate procedures, rules or regulations prescribing the requirements to be included in the agreed upon procedures for review of housing authority financial records.

The report, agreed upon procedures for review of housing authority financial records and the annual plan, shall be made available to the public on the department’s website, as well as the housing authority’s website required under section 26D. Failure of the members of a housing authority to provide the department with the required written report may constitute neglect of duty and may subject a responsible member to removal proceedings pursuant to section 6.

Housing authorities shall be subject to audit by the state auditor, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards, as often as the auditor determines is necessary. The auditor shall have access to the written report required by this section and shall have the power to examine the property and records of housing authorities and to prescribe methods of accounting. In determining the audit frequency of housing authorities, the state auditor shall consider the materiality, risk and complexity of housing authority activities, as well as the nature and extent of prior audit findings. Each housing authority may be audited separately or as a part of an audit covering multiple housing authorities.

The department shall investigate the budgets, finances and other affairs of housing authorities and the housing authority’s dealings, transactions and relationships. The department may, severally with the state auditor, examine the properties and records of housing authorities and prescribe methods of accounting and the rendering of periodical reports in relation to clearance and housing projects undertaken by such authorities. The department shall make, amend and repeal rules and regulations prescribing standards and stating principles governing the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of clearance and housing projects by housing authorities.

In the development or administration of a project which is not federally aided, a housing authority shall furnish the commissioner of labor and industries, upon his request, with a list of the classifications of work performed by all architects, technical engineers, draftsmen, technicians, laborers and mechanics employed therein, and shall notify him from time to time of any changes in said classifications. Said commissioner shall determine rates of wages and fees and payments to health and welfare plans for each such classification and shall furnish the housing authority with a schedule of such rates, fees and payments. The rates of wages and fees paid by each housing authority to such architects, technical engineers, draftsmen, technicians, laborers and mechanics shall not be less than those determined by said commissioner who shall set the rate at no less than eighty per cent of the prevailing wage in accordance with sections twenty-six and twenty-seven of chapter one hundred and forty-nine. In the event that any housing authority fails to furnish said commissioner with said list within two weeks after the date of his request, said commissioner shall determine said rates of wages and fees and payments to health and welfare plans.

A housing authority shall bargain collectively with labor organizations representing its employees and may enter into agreements with such organizations.

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary the provisions of sections four, ten and eleven of chapter one hundred and fifty E shall apply to said authorities and their employees.

No employee of any housing authority, except an employee occupying the position of executive director, who has held his office or position, including any promotion or reallocation therefrom within the authority for a total period of five years of uninterrupted service, shall be involuntarily separated therefrom except subject to and in accordance with the provisions of sections forty-one to forty-five, inclusive, of said chapter thirty-one to the same extent as if said office or position were classified under said chapter.

Except as otherwise stated therein, compliance with this chapter, the rules and regulations adopted by the department and the terms of any low-rent housing project or clearance project authorized by this chapter, may be enforced by a proceeding in equity.

 


Housing authorities

Massachusetts general law, c. 121B, § 29, provides a statutory scheme by which the wage rates of certain employees of state housing authorities are determined. Pursuant to Section 29B, a housing authority is required to provide to DLS a list of classifications of work performed by all architects, technical engineers, draftsmen, technicians, laborers, and mechanics employed by the authority. After a housing authority provides such information, DLS determines prevailing wage rate for each classification and provides the housing authority with a wage schedule. The law provides that such wages and fees “shall not be less than those determined by said commissioner who shall set the rate at no less than 80% of the prevailing wage in accordance with sections 26 and 27 of chapter 149.”

How often does DLS issue wage rates for housing authorities?

DLS issues wage rates for housing authorities in March of each year, with an effective date of April 1 of the same year.

After the DLS issues wage rates for certain housing authority in March of each year, may the housing authority request updated rates and/or a new job classification?

Yes, however, any increases in the collective bargaining agreements which are the basis for the wage rates will be included in the new rates that are issued as a result of subsequent requests.


Prevailing Wage and public construction

If you are an awarding authority, these rules apply to you:

  • Before beginning any public construction project, you must get a prevailing wage rate sheet.
  • We have standardized forms that you must use to request prevailing wage rates.
  • If you do not have access to the internet, call the Department of Labor Standards at 617-626-6953 for instructions on mailing a request form.
  • Once you get the prevailing wage schedule for a particular project, it must include the rate sheet in its invitation for bids.
  • If the project will cost less than $10,000, you must make sure that anyone who is providing a price or estimate for the construction project has a copy of the prevailing wage rate sheet for that project.
  • After you select a contractor for that project, make the prevailing wage rate sheet a part of the contract.
  • Each prevailing wage rate sheet issued applies only to its assigned project.
  • The prevailing wage rates for each construction project are in effect for 90 days from the date of issue.
  • Projects not bid within 90 days of the issued rates will need a new request for prevailing wage rates.
  • Once a project has been bid, the prevailing wage rate will apply for the duration of that project, except in the case of multi-year projects.
  • For projects lasting more than one year, you must request annual updates to the wage schedules.
  • You must get new rates from the Department of Labor Standards each time an invitation for bids for a construction project becomes available.
  • You must get prevailing wage rates for every public construction project, regardless of the dollar amount of the contract or whether it must actually be bid.
  • During the construction project, it is your responsibility to check contractors’ compliance with the prevailing wage law.
  • You must collect weekly payroll records from all contractors and kept on file.
  • You must maintain these weekly payroll records for three years following final payment on the construction project.
  • We need contractors and subcontractors to submit weekly payroll records to the awarding authority by first class or electronic mail.
  • A statement of compliance must go with each weekly payroll submittal.

If you have questions, call the Department of Labor Standards (DLS): 617-626-6953.