Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

Monthly Archives: March 2019

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Education Code Violation

Category:Around The State News
By Patricia (Patti) Rascon, Southern Regional Compliance Manager. -

“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander” right? Most of us are familiar with the Parent-Student Handbook that outlines the school districts expectations for kids and parents alike, but who holds the schools accountable for their behavior?

Education Code (EC) Section 1040 (a) provides that County Boards of Education shall “Adopt rules and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of this state, for their own government”. Simply put, they must follow the rules! A recent investigation with an Orange County School District on a Lease-leaseback project uncovered a discrepancy on an agenda item, which spelled out …WITHOUT ADVERTISING FOR BIDS.Patricia (Patti) Rascon, Southern Regional Compliance Manager

History 101: In January 2017, with the help of CIFAC and their partners, AB 2316 became law and allowed for significant changes to the Lease-Leaseback (LLB) construction program. Notable revisions included specifically deleting the phrase “without advertising for bid” from EC section 17406 and adding a new competitive bidding process to the LLB procedure. In other words, the code now requires a competitive bidding process should the district choose to use this contracting method. This process now includes the adoption and publishing of required procedures, guidelines by the school district, the advertisement of Request of Proposal (RFP), pre-qualification of contractors, proposals submitted in a sealed envelope with each proposal scored based on a best value system, and lastly, subcontractors shall be afforded protections built into the contract.

While doing my homework, I discovered that someone failed to make the grade in keeping the purchasing policy up-to-date. Their version from September 2000 read, “Without the benefit of a formal bid”. So what are the consequences for bad behavior? Not receiving the best value for dollars spent, and lost job opportunities for our industry to name a few.

History 102: The CIFAC mission is to create and increase job opportunities for the public works construction industry and this equates holding agencies accountable for their actions. With our involvement, the district acknowledged the errors and pledged to follow the rules.

Lesson learned, passing grade, no detention, gold star!

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CIFAC In The Field-Monitoring Agencies For Compliance

Category:Around The State News
By Jamie Watkins, Southeastern Regional Compliance Manager. -

At the Construction Industry Force Account Council (CIFAC) one of the ways we ensure agencies are complying with the California Public Contract Code (PCC) is by having a “boots-to-the-ground” approach. We have our Regional Compliance Managers (RCM) attend city council meetings to inform council members and city staff of the work we do. We do this so the agency understands we are watching them and if they have questions about the PCC, they reach out to CIFAC before we have to contact them with a potential violation. The end result is to influence the agency to adhere to the code, resulting in public agency transparency and more job opportunities for our construction industry.Jamie Watkins, Southeastern Regional Compliance Manager

For example; a dialogue was opened between RCM Jamie Watkins and the Rancho Cucamonga City Council about the benefits of becoming signatory to the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act (CUCCAA) otherwise known as the Act. The Council was unfamiliar with the Act so they were informed by Watkins of the higher bidding threshold that would allow the city to perform more work with their own force account if they became signatory. Another advantage of becoming signatory is the ability to use informal bidding procedures for new construction projects between $60K and $200K. The advertising procedures outlined in the Act would require notification to trade journals, opening bid opportunities for a greater number of potential bidders within a larger pool.

For another city, the RCM made contact with the Public Works Director before the city council meeting about an agenda item that was classified as an “emergency” when in fact it was not an emergency. When an agenda item is classified as an “emergency” oftentimes agencies are able to self-perform with there own force account to complete the work or will award a contract without going through the proper bidding procedure. The RCM was able to ask the Director for clarification and inform city staff what a true emergency-order is according to the Code. These are just a few examples of CIFAC out in the field working for the construction industry.

In another instance, a reporting party contacted Watkins with several questions pertaining to the PCC. A city was not competitively bidding a particular public project, but rather using city forces to self-perform the job. After contacting the City for clarification, the reporting party was notified that the project was in the preliminary stages and the agency will place the project out to bid. If CIFAC had not contacted the agency it could have very well gone unnoticed. In this case the RCM with continue to monitor the project in question to make sure the city bids the project.

Our RCM’s are here to provide assistance to agencies to become compliant and if you have any questions in regards to the Public Contract Code please contact us at 1-800-755-3354