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.
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