Construction Industry Force Account Council

Promoting Transparency Through Public Agency Compliance

Policy Change + CIFAC = More Jobs

Bard Water District

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By Patricia (Patti) Rascon, Southern Regional Compliance Manager. -

“When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” – Benjamin Franklin

The same can be said for procurement and budgets, right? Southern Regional Compliance Manager Patti Rascon received a request to assist an Imperial Valley water agency established in 1927 that likely used a divining rod to find water. In this instance, it was her task to help them manage the vital resource.Bard Water District field

The opening to assist the District presented itself while Rascon was reviewing their June 2020 board of directors agenda. Under the heading of New Business, there was a discussion for district procurement/bidding for construction projects. Upon contacting district staff for more information on the item, Rascon learned that the new general manager was looking to put a policy in place for upcoming public works contracts.

Rascon knew this was the perfect opportunity for CIFAC to be a resource and increase opportunities for the construction industry and our members! The district's current bidding threshold was $35,000. Rascon discussed the benefits of competitive bidding which include transparency, an equal playing field for contractors, and a more competitive price for taxpayers.

After evaluating their options, the District ultimately decided to restructure its entire bidding process. The new bidding guidelines lowered the force account limit to $5,000 and allows for informal bidding up to $75,000, with formal bidding required above that amount. This will result in increased bid opportunities and more projects performed by contract!

In this case, runoff is a positive thing. CIFAC was allowed to educate an agency on best procurement practices, thus creating more competition with the bidding process. With due diligence, the district won't need a divining rod to find the tributary.

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