Title 29: Public Property and Supplies
Chapter 5: DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS AND GENERAL SERVICES
29 V.S.A. § 152. Duties of Commissioner
§ 152. Duties of Commissioner
(a) The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services, in addition to the duties expressly set forth elsewhere by law, shall have the authority to:
(1) Be responsible for the administration of the Department.
(3) Prepare or cause to be prepared plans and specifications for construction and repair on all State-owned buildings:
(A) For which the General Assembly or the Emergency Board has made specific appropriations. In consultation with the department or agency concerned, the Commissioner shall select sites, purchase lands, determine plans and specifications, and advertise for bids for the furnishing of materials and construction thereof and of appurtenances thereto. The Commissioner shall determine the time for beginning and completing the construction. Any change orders occurring under the contracts let as the result of actions previously mentioned in this section shall not be allowed unless they have the approval of the Secretary of Administration.
(B) For which no specific appropriations have been made by the General Assembly or the Emergency Board. The Commissioner may, with the approval of the Secretary of Administration acquire an option, for a price not to exceed $75,000.00, on an individual property without prior legislative approval, provided the option contains a provision stating that purchase of the property shall occur only upon the approval of the General Assembly and the appropriation of funds for this purpose. The State Treasurer is authorized to advance a sum not to exceed $75,000.00, upon warrants drawn by the Commissioner of Finance and Management for the purpose of purchasing an option on a property pursuant to this subdivision.
(C) For which the Department of Buildings and General Services is granted a right of first refusal. The Commissioner may, with the approval of the Secretary of Administration, enter into an agreement that grants the Department of Buildings and General Services a right of first refusal to purchase property, provided that the right of first refusal contains a provision stating that the purchase of the property shall occur only upon the approval of the General Assembly.
(4) Supervise construction, improvement, repair, alteration, demolition, and replacement of and addition to state buildings, structures, and facilities when the estimated cost thereof exceeds $3,000.00 except (A) as provided in subdivision (3) of this section, and (B) highways as defined in 1 V.S.A. § 119 and aeronautics facilities. The Commissioner shall supervise the maintenance of all State buildings.
(5) Inspect, appraise, and maintain a current appraisal schedule of all State-owned buildings, appendages, and appurtenances thereto based upon replacement value in the first instance and upon depreciated value in the second instance. Appraisals shall be furnished upon request to the Secretary of Administration, the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services, departments and agencies concerned, and appropriate committees of the General Assembly.
(6) Determine the necessity of repairs and replacements to all State-owned buildings and cause urgent repairs and replacements to be accomplished if within the limits of specific appropriations or if approved by the Emergency Board. Urgency of the repairs, maximum need for the building, and appropriations available shall be the determining factors in deciding priority of repairs and replacements. When the Commissioner determines that repairs and replacements should be made, the Commissioner shall so report in writing to the department or agency having control of the building; and the Commissioner shall request written authorization from the head of that department or agency to initiate the action necessary to accomplish the repairs or replacements. The Commissioner shall forward a copy of his or her recommendations to the Secretary of Administration when the Commissioner considers the repairs or replacements recommended by the Commissioner to be urgent whenever the department or agency controlling the building has failed to request initiation of action within a reasonable time after the Commissioner's second recommendation of action.
(8) Employ such architectural and other professional assistance as he or she deems necessary in the performance of his or her duties. Before employing architectural and other professional assistance, the Commissioner shall give reasonable public notice of his or her intention to employ such assistance so as to allow full opportunity for any qualified expert to offer his or her services and the Commissioner shall employ that architect or expert whose service will be in the best interest of the State.
(9) This section shall not apply to State-owned buildings under the jurisdiction and control of the Forests, Parks and Recreation Department, the Fish and Wildlife Department, the Military Department, and property at State airports under the jurisdiction of the Transportation Agency. However, the Governor, by executive order, may place under the supervision of the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services specified buildings or classes of buildings under the jurisdiction and control of the Departments named.
(11) For State-owned buildings and structures which are under the jurisdiction of the Historic Preservation Division as historic sites, the Director of Historic Preservation shall have jurisdiction over determining maintenance and restoration to be done and the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services shall have jurisdiction over budgeting for and accomplishing the same.
(12) The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services may contract after competitive bidding, for custodial and other maintenance services. No employee will be laid off or otherwise be removed from employment as a result of contracting out except in circumstances where the work is beyond the capacity of State employees, or that the work or program can be performed more economically under an outside contract, or that an outside contractor has management techniques, equipment or technology which will result in better public service and increased productivity.
(13) Assure that electric heat for space heating is not used in new State buildings or in the reconstruction of State buildings, except where it is cost effective to do so on a life cycle cost basis. The Commissioner shall develop a work plan to phase out the existing use of electric heat in State buildings, where it is cost effective to do so on a life cycle cost basis, and shall include in the annual budget requests to the General Assembly work plans and budgets to accomplish this phase-out in a timely fashion.
(14) The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services may promulgate rules and regulations to govern access to and conduct upon the grounds of and within the structures and buildings which fall within his or her jurisdiction. Specifically, and without limitation of the foregoing, the Commissioner is empowered to promulgate rules governing access to property; littering; alcoholic beverages and narcotics; soliciting, debt collection and campaigning; photographs for advertising or commercial purposes; pets and animals; and firearms and explosives while in State buildings under his or her jurisdiction or upon the grounds of these buildings, and in or upon property leased to the State and under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner.
(15) The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services is authorized to consult with the Secretary of Education, when requested by the Secretary of Education, concerning school construction projects.
(16) The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services is authorized to allocate, at the Commissioner's discretion, funds from projects appropriated to the Department of Buildings and General Services by any capital construction act adopted pursuant to 32 V.S.A. § 701a, to contract for the services of engineers, architects, and other consultants required to complete projects authorized in such a capital construction act and under the jurisdiction of the Commissioner. The authorization of this subdivision shall not abrogate the authority of the Commissioner to postpone projects authorized by such a capital construction act if the best interest of the State would be served thereby.
(17) Manage and expend all appropriations made in each annual Capital Construction Act to the Department of Buildings and General Services under chapter 5 of this title. However, the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services may, with the approval of the Secretary of Administration, direct the Commissioner of Finance and Management to issue a warrant to pay the amount of any appropriation designated for use by an entity not affiliated with the Executive Branch directly to such entity.
(18) Postpone any project authorized by an annual capital construction act under the authority of or funded through the Department of Buildings and General Services if, due to financial or economic conditions, the best interests of the State will be served by postponement.
(19) Transfer any unexpended project balances between projects that are authorized within the same section of the act.
(20) Transfer any unexpended project balances between projects that are authorized within different capital construction acts, with the approval of the Secretary of Administration when the unexpended project balance does not exceed $100,000.00, or with the additional approval of the Emergency Board when such balance exceeds $100,000.00.
(21) Cancel any authorized project if, due to financial or economic conditions, the best interests of the State will be served by cancellation, if approved by the Secretary of Administration, and postpone any authorized project if, due to financial or economic conditions, the best interests of the State will be served by postponement.
(22) Use the contingency fund appropriation to cover shortfalls for any project approved in any capital construction act; however, transfers from the contingency in excess of $50,000.00 shall be done with the approval of the Secretary of Administration.
(23) With the approval of the Secretary of Administration, transfer during any fiscal year to the Department of Buildings and General Services for use only for major maintenance within the capitol complex in Montpelier, any unexpended balances of funds appropriated in any capital construction act for any Executive or Judicial Branch project, excluding any appropriations for State grant-in-aid programs, which is completed or substantially completed as determined by the Commissioner. On or before January 15 of each year, the Commissioner shall report to the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions and the Senate Committee on Institutions regarding all transfers and expenditures made pursuant to this subdivision (23).
(24) Accept from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) hazard mitigation grants on behalf of the State on an as-needed basis, or accept from any municipality any funds received by the municipality from FEMA. This authority is intended to permit the State to assist towns in certain situations by taking advantage of federal money in order to avoid depletion of State resources.
(25) Transfer any unexpended project balances from previous capital construction acts for the purpose of emergency projects not authorized in a capital construction act in an amount not to exceed $100,000.00; provided the Commissioner shall send timely written notice of such expenditures to the Chairs of the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions and the Senate Committee on Institutions.
(26) Be available to consult with and share the Department's expertise with school districts regarding the design, construction, or purchase of any new buildings or alterations of existing buildings in connection with any technical center receiving funding under Title 16. The Commissioner, in collaboration with the Secretary of Education, shall periodically update the standards developed pursuant to Sec. 44 of No. 148 of the Acts of the 1999 Adj. Sess. (2000).
(27) After consulting with the State Treasurer to determine the effect of the contract on the State's debt and reviewing the creditworthiness of the company with which the State proposes to contract, and with the approval of the Emergency Board, enter into multiyear contracts with energy service companies or third-party leasing companies for energy efficiency and fuel switching improvements to State facilities, the cost of which will be recovered through the avoided fuel, utility, operating, and maintenance costs resulting from the improvements. Improvements must within 20 years achieve savings sufficient to cover their costs.
(28) With the approval of the Emergency Board, enter into performance contracts with private sector providers to create energy-smart State buildings and facilities primarily through revised operating strategies that will result in operating cost savings. The Commissioner shall work with private energy contractors and utilities companies to develop a plan to conduct energy audits, analyze the State's energy needs, improve purchasing procedures to speed the conversion to new technology, and develop revised operating strategies to identify the best use of the latest energy-saving technology.
(29) When purchasing land for new State highway garages and other transportation buildings, as well as other State buildings on major highways in the State, the Commissioner, in consultation with the Secretary of Transportation, shall consider purchasing additional land suitable for park-and-ride facilities.
(30) Provide services to the traveling public, lease space, sell products, and conduct any other activities within limits set forth in the federal Surface Transportation Act and Randolph-Sheppard Act and rules promulgated thereunder, to administer the information and welcome centers; and use funds generated in the centers to supplement funds for maintaining and operating the centers.
(31) Receive payments from vendors through the real-time demand response program (DRP). The Commissioner may contract with third-party brokers or directly with Independent System Operators to generate or to reduce electrical demand or both for State-owned facilities in return for payments to the State which shall be retained by the Facilities Operations Revolving Fund established in section 160a of this title.
(32) Accept funds and other contributions for State House renovations and restorations; educational, interpretive, and curatorial projects; and acquisition of historic furnishings, fixtures, and works of art for projects that pertain to the State House.
(33) Accept grants of funds, equipment, and services from any source, including federal appropriations, for the installation, operation, implementation, or maintenance of energy conservation measures or improvements at State buildings, provided that the Commissioner shall report receipt of a grant under this subdivision to the Chairs of the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions and the Senate Committee on Institutions.
(34) Sell thermal energy to the City of Montpelier at a price set by the Commissioner.
(35) Accept from the Department of Public Service, the City of Montpelier, or other entity grant funds for renovations to the Capital District Heating Plant.
(b) The Commissioner of Buildings and General Services shall:
(1) Prior to transfer of unexpended balances between projects under the provisions of this section or another provision of law, consult with the State Treasurer and the Commissioner of Finance and Management to determine that such transfer does not adversely affect the exclusion from gross income of the interest on the bonds from which such unexpended proceeds are derived, pursuant to Section 103 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 or any corresponding Internal Revenue Code section of the United States, as from time to time amended. The Commissioner shall notify the State Treasurer within 30 days of the postponement of any authorized projects for which bonds have been issued.
(2) Consult with the State Treasurer regarding implementation of projects in each capital appropriations act, including the disposition of assets purchased with capital appropriations, with regard to satisfactory resolution of issues associated with legal and tax-exempt status of outstanding State bonds.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Commissioner of Buildings and General Services is authorized to:
(1) Implement a "Motorist Aid Refreshment Program" at State rest areas and information centers. The Commissioner is authorized to accept, without active solicitation, donations for the services and associated supplies, and may use surplus funds to pay for the Information Center Program.
(2) Permit nonprofit organizations and contracted information center operators to provide free refreshments to motorists. Nonprofits and contracted information center operators may accept voluntary donations, without active solicitation, from motorists.
(3) Adopt rules governing the provision of refreshments in accordance with this subsection. (Added 1959, No. 328 (Adj. Sess.), § 10; amended 1961, No. 17, §§ 1, 2, eff. March 15, 1961; 1977, No. 247 (Adj. Sess.), § 183; 1979, No. 74, §§ 345, 346; 1979, No. 205 (Adj. Sess.), § 139, eff. May 9, 1980; 1981, No. 108, § 331(b); 1983, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. April 11, 1984; 1983, No. 158 (Adj. Sess.), eff. April 13, 1984; 1987, No. 243 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 32(2), 33, eff. June 13, 1988; 1991, No. 259 (Adj. Sess.), § 13; 1993, No. 59, § 25c, eff. June 3, 1993; 1993, No. 233 (Adj. Sess.), § 46, eff. June 21, 1994; 1995, No. 148 (Adj. Sess.), § 4(b), eff. May 6, 1996; 1995, No. 178 (Adj. Sess.), § 296; 1995, No. 185 (Adj. Sess.), § 87, eff. May 22, 1996; 1999, No. 29, § 39, eff. May 19, 1999; 2001, No. 61, § 25; 2001, No. 149 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 25, 32, 34, 64, eff. June 27, 2002; 2003, No. 56, § 59, eff. June 4, 2003; 2003, No. 121 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 27, 31, eff. June 8, 2004; 2005, No. 147 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 34, 49, eff. May 15, 2006; 2007, No. 52, §§ 30, 31, eff. May 28, 2007; 2007, No. 200 (Adj. Sess.), § 35, eff. June 9, 2008; 2009, No. 33, § 54; 2009, No. 43, §§ 27, 28, eff. May 27, 2009; 2009, No. 135 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 23, 24; 2011, No. 40, § 34a, eff. May 20, 2011; 2011, No. 139 (Adj. Sess.), § 24, eff. May 14, 2012; 2013, No. 51, § 33, eff. May 29, 2013.)