Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

How CIFAC Affects the County Road Commissioner Authority

County Road Work

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By Matthew (Matt) Hilliard, Bay Area Regional Compliance Manager. -

Prior to CIFAC's successful legislation to insert California Public Contract Code (PCC 22031 (2) (c)), a county with a "road commissioner," or "transportation director," usually the Public Works Director who had been given the title by an action of the Board of Supervisors, had unlimited ability to perform new construction of all county roads, streets and highways.

This changed in 2011 when CIFAC sponsored and passed bill AB 720, the Road Commissioner legislation. The authority of the "road commissioner" was limited to 30% of the total of new construction from the previous year for counties with a population over 50,000 and who participate in the California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act.Matthew (Matt) Hilliard, Bay Area Regional Compliance Manager These limits are calculated from the County Streets and Roads Reports that are submitted to the State Controller's office annually and posted in an official report. In the first year alone, $9 million of work that was scheduled to be performed by county workers in Riverside County was put out to bid.

Shortly after AB 720 was signed into law CIFAC identified four issues for the Legislature to clarify. In 2014 CIFAC helped AB 2752 get signed into law. It is a bill that further clarified that counties shall calculate their eligible force account work on a fiscal year basis; clarifies that counties shall use the State Controller’s Office Annual Streets and Roads Report as of March 1 of each year to set the cap for the following fiscal year; clarifies that counties may comply with the requirement to “declare work” using the road commissioner procedure in three ways prior to commencing work, namely, listing anticipated projects in the annual budget, listing anticipated projects for the fiscal year, and/or on a project-by-project basis.

In 2018 CIFAC continued to support measures to help agencies comply with the reporting requirements that assist in enforcing the “road commissioner cap”. AB 636 was approved which increased the filing time each city and county had to submit a complete report of expenditures for streets and roads for the preceding fiscal year from October 1st to December 1st. This bill also requires the State Controller to publish and make the annual reports from the cities and counties available on their website instead of distributing physical copies. Not only does this provide CIFAC direct access to this important information, it also assists the Regional Compliance Managers with enforcement.

CIFAC monitors these reports and calculates the total each county has spent. With these figures, CIFAC can determine if they have exceeded that amount and if so, they are in violation of the law.

If you have any questions in regards to the County Road Commissioner Authority or the California Public Contract Code, please contact CIFAC at 1-800-755-3354 or visit us on the web at

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