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Let’s Celebrate Our County Government: Barnstable County Purchasing Division

It’s National County Government Month and that means it’s time to celebrate our county government and the services they offer. This spotlight is on Barnstable County’s Purchasing Division, so thank you for the amazing things you do for our county and our community. Learn more about the Purchasing Division below.

Some Quick Background about the Barnstable County Purchasing Division 

The Purchasing Division was established in 1979 by a vote of the County Commissioners to maintain a centralized purchasing system of goods and services collectively not only for County departments, but also to serve the towns. Jennifer Frates is the Chief Procurement Officer for Barnstable County, but she does a variety of different things for the Purchasing Division. Her primary job is the to procure goods and services in accordance with Mass General Laws 30B, 30, 39M, and 149.  She provides collaborative purchasing on behalf of the Towns as well as consulting services on the procurement laws and compliance.

Chief Procurement Officer Jennifer Frates

The Mission of the Barnstable County Purchasing Division 

Chief Procurement Officer Jennifer Frates answered the following questions.

Q: What is the mission of your department?

A: Our mission is to provide value added professional procurement services to meet departmental goals while promoting an open and fair competitive process. Purchasing is committed to adding value to Barnstable County Communities so they may effectively fulfill their mission to the public.

Q: How has your department contributed to the COVID-19 response over time? What has your department done for the community in response to COVID-19? 

A: The Purchasing Department has supported department bids for testing site structures, a request for proposal to determine the economic impact to county businesses and finally the Purchasing Department has been making resources available for the purchase of personal protective equipment.

Q: What challenges has your department had to face during the COVID-19 pandemic and how have you overcome those challenges?

A: Luckily, the Purchasing Department was not affected greatly by the pandemic due to everything being digitized and moved to an online platform.

Q: How can Barnstable County residents become more involved with your department and/or programs?

A: The Purchasing Division is an indirect service to the Barnstable County.  The things we procure for other departments and towns is what impacts the community directly.  I think the best way is to keep up on different bidding opportunities and if there are local companies that would be interested, let them know about it!

Q: What is one project/initiative your department completed in the past year that you are proud of?

A: The Purchasing Division is most proud of moving to an E-bidding solution. We have significantly decreased the amount of paper by digitizing all of our bid responses and making the process more efficient and easier for suppliers to submit proposals. Not only has this saved time and money for the county but also for our vendors.

Q: What would you like the community to know about the Barnstable County Purchasing Division ?

A: The Purchasing Division provides a resource to towns that need assistance in procurement and an opportunity to collaborate and take advantage of cost savings by aggregating spend.

Visit the Purchasing Division website at