Recently, CIFAC was approached by an industry partner regarding Madera County crews self-performing work on multiple road projects throughout the County. As a participating member of the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act, the County may self-perform public works projects of $60,000 or less by force account, negotiated contract, or purchase order. The County Board of Supervisors or County Road Commissioner acting on its authority can publicly declare its intention to use force account for new road construction and road reconstruction during a fiscal year. However, there is one provision; the total value of the work performed cannot exceed 30 percent of the value performed by force account (except maintenance) the prior fiscal year. This dollar value is commonly referred to as a “Road Commissioner cap” and CIFAC's Regional Compliance Managers monitor the Road Commissioner projects to determine if an agency has exceeded that amount.
Well-paved roads and highways is important to ensure driver safety. There is a sense of relief knowing that my car's front end is less likely to be knocked out of alignment or that I am less likely to experience a flat tire. Unfortunately, the quality of work observed on these roads was substandard. I conducted three investigations and determined that the County did not exceed the force account limit or the road commissioner's cap. To avoid further bumps in the road, CIFAC contacted County staff with their concerns and requested the County competitively bid future roadwork. Our goal was to increase job opportunities and ensure work other than simple road maintenance and repair work, are completed by licensed and insured contractors with the expertise to perform and produce quality work.
In March 2021, Madera County advertised the 2020 Countywide Pavement Rehabilitation and Overlay project valued at $9.9 million. An industry partner called to thank CIFAC for its involvement and assistance in this accomplishment. Although CIFAC uncovered no violations, we genuinely believe that the County was mindful of CIFAC's presence and persistence. Our watchful eye encourages agencies to comply with the law, review its methods, and competitively bid projects. This project will result in over 10,000 work hours for the construction industry. A step in the right direction and another way CIFAC is increasing job opportunities. Contact CIFAC if you see work being performed by force account or have questions about any project. When in doubt, seek us out!