Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

CIFAC Prevails Against City of Claremont

City of Claremont

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At CIFAC, one of our main objectives is to ensure that all qualified bidders have the opportunity to submit bids on public works projects. Working on the front end of the process often allows us to achieve this important goal.

But what happens when an agency blatantly ignores CIFAC? Find out!

While reviewing the City of Claremont’s City Council agenda, Morelli noticed a staff report indicating that the City intended to award a $74,500 contract for the installation of security gates for the City’s Police Facility parking lot. The project called for two electrically powered security gates, one at the lot entrance and the other at the exit.

The agenda’s staff report indicated that the City directly contacted three fencing firms and asked them to meet with staff, walk the job site and provide an estimate for the work.

Morelli contacted the City and asked to see a copy of their qualified contractors bidders list. After reviewing the list, none of the three contractors they solicited were even on it. Morelli advised the city that they could not disregard the bidding process and their actions would not comply with the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act, (CUCCAA) which the City is subject to. The Act requires that informal bids be solicited directly from the agency’s qualified contractors list. If specific trades are not listed, then the project must be publicly advertised in the local trade journals.

Morelli requested that the City pull the item from the current City Council agenda and properly bid out the project. The City ignored CIFAC’s request and moved forward by approving and awarding the contract anyway.

After allowing time for the project to be completed, Morelli sent a Public Records Act request to obtain documents to evaluate the projects costs. Subsequent documents determined that the City had issued contracts and/or purchase orders to three different contractors. These included fencing, electrical, and concrete/landscape contractors, with a total project cost of $96,000.

Morelli elevated the project for a formal accounting review by the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act’s Commissioners which took place in January 2023.

At the CUCCAA Commissioners hearing, CIFAC presented their case. Upon their completion, the City of Claremont was allowed the opportunity to rebut. The City was represented by their City Attorney, instead of staff members to answer questions. When it came time for the City to offer a response or explain their actions, CIFAC’s evidence was so overwhelming that the City Attorney just fell on the sword and admitted that the City was guilty of violating the requirements of the Act.

After reviewing all the supporting documentation and considering the City Attorneys comments, the Commissioners unanimously voted to uphold CIFAC’s position that the City violated the formal/informal bidding requirements as outlined in the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act’s guidelines, per the manual, and the Public Contract Code (PCC), Section 22034.

CIFAC will continue to monitor the City of Claremont to ensure that future
projects are being advertised, bid, and awarded according to PCC requirements.

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